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From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908 


Illustrated With Portraits and Views 

With Biographical Sketches of some 
Prominent Citizens of the County. 








In presenting this history of Ford county to the public I desire to return 

^ my thanks to the many citizens of the county who have so willingly contributed 

i:?^ valuable data for this work. I .also wish to give due acknowledgment to the his- 

\ torical matter contained in the Atlas of Ford County published in 1884, from 

^ which a large portion of the pioneer facts has been compiled. Due acknowledg- 

^ ment is also made for the valuable pioneer data contained in "Remembrances 

of a Pioneer," by Mrs. Jane Patton, of Button township, and published by her 

in 1904. Much of the data has been compiled directly from the files and records 

of the county clerk and circuit clerk's offices. 

^ E. A. G. 







It is clearly demonstrated by the numerous and well authenticated accounts 
of antiquities found in various parts of this county that a people civilized, and 
considerably cultivated, at least as compared with the Indian, occupied this great 
land before its possession by the red man of later history, but their "day and 
generation" lie buried in the deepest obscurity. 

Nature, at the time of the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, 
had asserted her original dominion over the land ; the forests were in their full 
luxuriance — the growth of many centuries, and nothing remained to point out 
who and what they were who once lived and loved, labored and died on the 
continent of America. 

This race with an unwritten history is known as the Mound-Builders. The 
remains of the works of this people form the most interesting class of antiqui- 
ties discovered in the United States. 

These mounds consist of what once apparently were villages, altars, tem- 
ples, idols, cemeteries, monuments, camps, fortifications, pleasure grounds, etc. 

Were the Mound-Builders the ancestors of the Indians or who were they? 
What were their customs? Whence came they? What is their history? The 
oblivion which has closed over them is complete, and only conjecture can be 
given in answer to these questions. 

Mr. Breckenridge, who examined the antiquities of the western country 
in 1817, says : ' ' The great number and extremely large size of some of them 
may be regarded as furnishing, with other circumstances, evidences of their 
antiquity. I have sometimes been induced to think that during the period 
when they were constructed there was a population here as numerous as that 
which once animated the borders of the Nile or Euphrates or of Mexico. The 
most numerous, as well as considerable, of these remains are found in precisely 
those parts of the country where the traces of a numerous population might be 
looked for, namely, from the mouth of the Ohio on the east side of the Missis- 


sippi to the Illinois river, and on the west from the St. Francis to the Missouri. 
I am perfectly satisfied that cities similar to those of ancient Mexico, of several 
hundred thousand souls, have existed in this country." 

To describe these mound-builders is now impossible. We onlj^ know the 
red men, who occupied this country when the French, English and Spanish 
came to visit the land and trade for peltries, and had not even a tradition of 

It is generally conceded that whatever the uses of these mounds — whether 
for homes for the living or burial places for the dead — these voiceless land- 
marks of the silent past were built, and the race who built them disappeared 
from the face of the earth ages before the Indians occupied the land, but their 
date must probably remain as a sealed volume of history. The names of their 
mighty chieftains, their deeds of valor, their marches with faithful followers 
to a 

"Glory bed. 

Or to glorious victory," 
have not been preserved by the historian and tradition is silent. 


' In October, 1665, Father Claude Allouez landed on the southwestern shore 
of Lake Superior, at a place called by the Indians Chegoimegon. 

Here he found a number of the Algonquin tribes assembled T>reparatory to 
an incursion into the territory of the Sioux. 

The good father persuaded them to abandon their preparations for war. 
He then erected the chapel which he named the "Mission of the Holy Ghost," 
at the place since called "Lapointe du Saint Esperit, " and began his work as 

To this spot came the roving Pottawattamies, Sacs, Foxes, the Kickapoos, 
the Illinois and Miamis, prompted by curiosity, and here they first heard the 
preaching of Christianity. 

In Father Allouez, they beheld a champion of human rights, and to him 
they narrated their griefs by first speaking of their former grandeur, and then 
of their diminished numbers from hostile visitations from the Sioux on the 
west and the Iroquois on the east. The gentle and pious Marquette three 
years later took the place of Allouez. 

Just previous to this time, hoAvever, possession of the country was taken 
in the name of the French government. For this event Allouez and Joliet 
summoned the chiefs of no less than fourteen tribes and bands at St. Mary'& 


It was well known that a great river crossed southward through the coun- 
try. The first white man who set foot on the soil of this state was Nicholas 
Perrot, a Frenchman. lie was sent to Chicago in the year 1671, for the pur- 
pose of inviting the western Indians to a peace convention at Green Bay. One 
object of this meeting was to form a plan for the discovery of the Mississippi 
river. This river had been discovered by De Sota nearl}^ one hundred and 
thirty years before, but his nation left it without further explorations. 

Father IMarquette and Joliet obtained leave to start on an expedition for 
the purpose of bringing to light the mysteries of this river. 

These two distinguished men started from St. Ignace, a small missionary 
station on the north shore of the straits of IMackinaw. 

Two birch bark canoes, five men, a bag of corn meal, some dried beef and 
a blanket for each constituted their outfit. 

Their route late along the north shore of Lake Michigan, and the west bank 
of Green Bay. They passed through the waters of Lake Winnebago and 
thence accompanied by Indian guides, continued up the Fox river to the carry- 
ing place across to the Wisconsin. Here their Indian guides refused to go 
farther, and returned whence they came. Down this stream they passed amid 
the silent grandeur of its forests, and under the cedar-crested precipices of 
solid rock. No mark of human life was apparent along its shores. 

On the ITtli of June, 1673, they found themselves on the broad surface 
of the ^Mississippi. The banks were less precipitous than the bold headlines 
of the Wisconsin, and as they passed down the stream, the country looked 
more promising. Herds of buffalo were seen grazing on the open prairies. 

Not until they neared the mouth of the Des Moines did they discover any 
evidence of human beings. Noticing footprints on the river's banks they left 
the canoes in charge of the five men. INIarquette and Joliet fearlessly took 
the Indian path, and after two leagues' travel, came in sight of their villages. 
The meeting proved a friendly one. The Indians were of the Illinois tribe. 
They gave the missionaries a dinner of fish, roast bufi'alo and hominy. They 
resumed their journey but did not meet with any more Indians luitil reaching 
what is now the state of Kentucky. Landing on the left bank of the river, 
just below the mouth of the Ohio, they met with what was evidently a roving 
band of warriors from the far distant borders of civilization on the Atlantic 
coast. They were armed with guns, but were peaceably disposed, and received 
the voyagers kindly. The adventurers passed down the river till the mouth 
of the Arkansas was reached. Here again they met Indians, savage as nature 
could make them. The young men showed a disposition to take the lives of 


our little party of travelers at once, but were restrained by the older men of 
the tribe. Finally a friendly meeting was had. From their new hosts, they 
ascertained that the mouth of the Mississippi was but ten days' travel distant. 
The intense heat of the month of July and fears of being picked up by Spanish 
adventurers caused them to conclude their explorations at this point. They 
had passed below where De Sota had discovered and crossed the Mississippi in 
1541, which was one hundred and thirty-two years previous. No trace, not 
even a tradition of De Sota's work remained. The object of Marquette and 
Joliet's expedition had been fulfilled. They had discovered the great river 
and determined whether it emptied into the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean. 

On the 17th of July they took leave of their doubtful friends and turned 
their canoes up stream. It is difficult for any person not familiar with the 
current of a great river to comprehend the task before them. Patient toiling 
at the oar finally brought them to the mouth of the Illinois river. Here they 
met with the Kaskaskias, who offered to conduct them by a more convenient 
route, which proved to be by the Illinois, the Des Plaines, and the Chicago 

On the Illinois river, especially along the shores of Peoria lake, were the 
principal villages of the Illinois. There were also bands of the same tribe 
in the vicinity of Starved Rock, near the present site of Utica. 

Marquette preached to these warriors, who manifested a commendable 
interest in what he had to say to them. When the little company of adven- 
turers passed on to Chicago, a large delegation of the Indians accompanied 
them, where they arrived in September. The Indians attached much import- 
ance to the little inlet stream called Chicago, and these French voyagers were 
eager to see the river, and still more eager to look upon the lake whose waters 
would afford a new route to their friends in northern Wisconsin. 

On the marshy banks of the little stream where now stands the city of 
Chicago these two bands bade each other adieu. 

The Frenchmen took their course along the western shore of the lake and 
soon arrived at the Mission of Green Bay. 

On the 25th of October, of the following year, Marquette, with two com- 
panions, Perre and Jasques, and a band of Indians, started on their mission 
to preach the gospel to the Illinois. Accomplishing his mission he started 
on his return to Canada in the spring of 1675, his health having failed because 
of exposure to the winter storms. Arriving at Sleeping Bear Point on the 
eastern shore of the lake, he had become too much prostrated to proceed far- 
ther. His two companions built a hut of bark and did all they could to make 


him comfortable. Here he died and was buried, a large wooden cross mark- 
ing his resting place. 

In 1679, La Salle, a French explorer, sailed to Green Bay and from there 
his party proceeded in canoes to the mouth of the St. Joseph river, on the 
eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Here he established a trading-post with the 
Miamis. He then ascended the St. Joseph, crossed to the Kankakee and sailed 
down until he reached an Illinois village. 

He formed an alliance with the tribe, and early in 1680 began near tlie 
present Peoria a post which he called Fort Crevecoeur. His chief object was 
to trade in furs. Accompanying him were several priests, and among them 
was Father Hennepin, who, with two companions, started to explore the upper 
Mississippi, and were taken prisoners by the Sioux. After an extended exper- 
ience with the Indians, he was permitted to return to Green Bay. La Salle 
was finally assassinated after his second visit to Illinois, while exploring the 
lower Mississippi. The first mission in Illinois, as we have already seen, was 
established by Marquette. The first military occupation of the state was at 
Fort Crevecoeur, by La Salle. There is, however, no evidence that a settle- 
ment was commenced at those early dates. 

The first settlement of which there is any authentic account was commenced 
with the building of Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois river, in 1682, but this was 
soon abandoned. The oldest permanent settlement, not only in Illinois, but 
in the valley of the Mississippi, is at Kaskaskia, situated six miles above the 
mouth of the Kaskaskia river. This was settled in 1690, by the removal of 
the mission from old Kaskaskia, or Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois river. Caho- 
kia was settled about the same time. 

Illinois came into full possession of the French in 1682, and was a depend- 
ency of Canada and a part of Louisiana. During the period of French rule 
in Louisiana, the population probably never exceeded ten thousand. 

To the year 1730 the following five distinct settlements were made in the 
territory of Illinois, numbering in population one hundred and forty French 
families, about six hundred ''converted" Indians, and many traders: Cahokia, 
near the mouth of Cahokia creek and about five miles below the present city of 
St. Louis; St. Philip, about forty-five miles below Cahokia; Fort Chartres, 
twelve miles above Kaskaskia; Kaskaskia, situated on the Kaskaskia river, six 
miles above its confluence with the Mississippi; and Prairie du Rocher, near 
Fort Chartres. Fort Chartres was built in 1718, and was for a time the 
headquarters of the military commandants of the district of Illinois, and the 
most impregnable fortress in North America. For about eighty years the 
French retained peaceable possession of Illinois. For more than a hundred 


years peace between the white man and the red man Avas unbroken, and when 
at last this reign of harmony terminated, it was not caused by the conciliatory 
Frenchman, but by the blunt and sturdy Anglo-Saxon. During the century 
now under consideration, no regular court was held by the French occupants. 
In 1765, the country passed into the hands of the English. As early as 1750, 
there could be perceived the first threes of the Revolution, which gave a new 
master and new institutions to Illinois. 


The opinion prevails that the inhabitants of North America who followed 
the mound-builders were those who reared the great cities, the ruins of which 
are found in Central America. It is undoubtedly true that this people was far 
more civilized and advanced in -avta than Avere the mound-builders. If we 
are to judge of these cities by their ruins of broken columns, fallen arches and 
crumbling walls of temples, palaces and pyramids, which in some places bestrew 
the ground, thej^ must have been cities of great extent, magnificent and very 
populous. Then to consider the time required to bring them to their present 
ruined condition we must conclude that the date of their building was far in 
the past. 

The Indians, believed to be the third race inhabiting North America, are 
distinct in every particular from the former two. Their origin is also envel- 
oped in mystery. Neither had they any traditions respecting their predeces- 
sors. They knew absolutely nothing about them, consequently they must have 
been successors of a race which had entirely passed away before the Indian 
made his appearance on this continent. There are several widely different 
opinions expressed at length in the various histories of the North American 
Indian as to their origin, but as already stated, mystery surrounds their begin- 
ning as a race, and the opinions expressed are largely a matter of speculation. 
A quite common supposition, well expressed in Chapman's history, is that 
"they are a derivative race and sprang from one or more of the ancient peo- 
ples of Asia. 

"In the absence of all authentic history, and when even tradition is want- 
ing, any attempt to point out the particular location of their origin must prove 
unsatisfactory. Though the exact place of origin may never be known, yet 
the striking coincidence of physical organization between the oriental type of 
mankind and the Indians point unmistakably to some part of Asia as the place 
whence they emigrated, which was originallj^ peopled to a great extent by the 
children of Shem. In this connection, it has been claimed that a meeting of 


the Europeans, Indians and Africans on the continent of America, is the fnl- 
tillnient of a i)roi)he('y as rcccn-chMJ in Genesis, ix. 27: 'God shall enlarge 
Ja})heth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan shall be his ser- 
vant. ' Assuming the theory to be true that the Indian tribes are of Shemitic 
origin, they were met on this continent in the fifteenth century by the Japh- 
ethic race, after the two stocks had passed around the globe by directly differ- 
ent routes. A few years afterward the Ilamatic branch of the human family 
were brought from the coast of Africa. 

"During the occupancy of the continent by the three distinct races, the 
children of Japheth have grown and prospered, while the called and not volun- 
tary sons of Hani have endured a servitude in the wider stretching valleys of 
the tents of Shem." 

Ridpath, in his history of the ITnited States, says: "The origin of the 
North American Indian is involved in complete obscurity. That they are one 
of the older races of mankind cannot be doubted. But at what date or by 
what route they came to the western continent is an unsolved problem. The 
notion that the Indians are the descendants of the Israelites is absurd. That 
half-civilized tribes wandering from beyond the Euphrates should reach North 
America, surpasses human credulity." 

No doubt all of us, having in our school days read the stories of Indian 
wars, were under the impression that the various tribes peopled this country 
quite densely, so that wherever the pioneer might travel in this newly discov- 
ered land, the red man with bow and arrow, tomahawk and scalping knife, 
glared upon him from every thicket and steathily glided through the tall 
grasses of the prairie watching the white man's course. 

But it is the opinion of the best authorities that when America was dis- 
covered in 1492, the whole continent was thinl>' populated, as compared with 
the present time, by roving bands or tribes of Indians. 

In some few regions, a considerable degree of civilization and skill in agri- 
culture had been obtained in Mexico and Peru. 

The number of Indians in this country, when permanent settlements began 
to be made, is not known, but pi'obably amounted in all the vast territory, as 
estimated by w^ell informed writers, to only a few millions — perhaps two or 

As almost every one know^, these were called Indians by the Europeans 
from the erroneous idea of Columbus and the men of that age, that there was 
only one continent; and that they had reached the eastern shore of Asia when 
America was discovered. 


The whole region comprising our country was in the possession of a great 
number of these tribes. They divided the country between them in an indefi- 
nite way, war and hunting being their chief occupations. They, generally 
speaking, attempted a very little cultivation of the soil. 

The settlements of Indians were as indefinite and movable as their boun- 
daries, and they attached very little value to land. Territory was acquired 
from them partly by force and partly l)y i)urchase. 

The last was usually made for a nominal sum and with little compre- 
hension, on their part, of the importance and future effects of its alienation. 
Historians have classified the Indian families or nations as follows : 

1. The Esquimaux, inhabiting the country from Labrador to Alaska. The 
name means the eaters of raw meat. 

2. The Algonquins, who occupied the country extending from Nova Sco- 
tia south of the James river, thence west to the mouth of the Ohio, and thence 
northward along the east side of the Mississippi and on to Lake "Winnipeg, 
excepting that portion which was occupied by the Huron-Iroquois, as hereafter 

3. The Huron-Iroquois, a powerful nation. occui)i('d a tract of country 
within that of the Algonquins. Their borders extended over the country 
reaching from Georgian bay and Lake Huron to Lakes Erie and Ontario, south 
of those lakes to the valley of the upper Ohio, and eastward to the river Sorel. 

4. The Appalachians inhabited that portion of the country south of the 
Algonquins, and east of the Mississippi. 

5. The Dakotas, called by the French Sioux, occupied a district of coun- 
try west of the Mississippi and north of the Missouri and Platte rivers. 

G. Tlie Shoshones, occupying the country south and west of the Dakota^. 
It will be understood that these nations were again divided into many tribes 
each, speaking different dialects of the common language, by which the main 
group was distinguished. As a general rule, Indians, when asked their name, 
gave the term. Men or Real Men. Each tribe had a name, generally that of 
the nnimnl or object which was 'the totem of the tribe. By referring to the 
foregoing description of the territory occupied by the Algonquins, it Avill be 
observed that our state was, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, under 
the jurisdiction of that nation. The Algon(iuin tribes occupying the western 
part of the country thus allotted to this nation, were the several tribes of the 
Illinois and Miami confederacies, the Pottawattamies, the Kickai)oos and scat- 
tered bands of Shawnees and Delawares. 



From the aceouuts, the Illinois seems to have laid claim to quite an exten- 
sive tract of country, the eastern boundary thereof being the ridge that divides 
the waters that flow into the Wabash above the headwaters of Saline creek, 
from those flowing into the Illinois river, the northern limit being a line from 
the mouth of the Des Plaines river westward beyond the Mississippi. On the 
north, the Illinois for a long time contested their boundary line with the Chip- 
peways, Winnebagoes, Sacs and Foxes. Afterward, the Sacs, Foxes and Kick- 
apoos. assisted by the Pottawattamies, became the successful invaders of the 
land of the Illinois. On the east came the Miamis, who in language and man- 
ners much resembled the Illinois, with whom they originally bore a close 

General Harrison stated that ''the Illinois confederacy was composed of 
five tribes: The Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Peorians, Michigans and the Tamarois." 

It is authoritatively stated that the Algonquin language, as spoken l)y the 
Ojibways, was regarded as the court language, so, if a person fell among a 
strange tribe, whose language he did not understand and spoke this language, 
they were bound, as a general rule, to furnish some one who could communi- 
cate with him in that language. It was through tliis language that iNIarquette 
spoke M'ith all the tribes, and so it was with all the early French trav- 
elers. Of all states in the Union, the following have Indian names : ]\Iassa- 
chusetts, Connecticut, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, 
Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, the most of these being derived from 
great rivers or other waters. 

The first accounts we have of the Illinois are given by the Jesuit mission- 
aries. In the "Relations" for the year 1655, it is stated that the Illinois 
are neighbors of the Winnebagoes; and again, the following year it was 
reported "that the Illinois nation dwell more than sixty leagues from here, 
and beyond a great river, which as near as can be conjectured, flows into the 
sea toward Virginia. These people are warlike. They use the bow, rarely 
the gun, and never the canoe." At this time the Illinois and Miamis were 
living west of the IMississippi, the reference being to this river. While the 
Illinois were like their brethren of a roving nature, they were not so much so 
as other tribes. 

Their favorite portions of the state seemed to be along the Illinois river, 
and on the Mississippi from the Kaskaskia to where Cairo now stands. Beck- 
with, in describing them, says: "In form they were tall and lithe. They 


were noted for their swiftness of foot. They wore moccasins prepared from 
buffalo hides, and a small covering extending from the waist to the knee. The 
rest of the body was entirely nude." 

The art of hunting not only supplied the Indian with food, but, like that 
of war, was a means of gratifying his love of distinction. 

The male children were earl.y taught the use of the bow and arrow. They 
were as carefully trained in hunting and Indian warfare as are the boj^s and 
girls of our time in the elements of reading, writing and arithmetic. 

The dwellings were simple and rude in character. A pleasant spot Avas 
selected by the river or near a spring, and here they raised their groups of 
A^igwaras. constructed chiefly of the bark of trees. The skins of animals sorvod 
for beds and wearing apparel. Depending principally on the chase for sub- 
sistence, this being, somewhat uncertain, they were led to cultivate small 
patches of corn. 

Commerce or an interchange of articles being almost unknown, every fam- 
ily did everything necessary within itself to provide food and comfort. 

When disputes or dissensions arose, each Indian relied upon himself to 
adjust the difficulty. Blood for blood was the rule, and the relatives of the 
slain man were bound to obtain bloody revenge. The result of this was bit- 
ter feuds and wars of extermination. 

"War was the Indian's glory and delight; not war after the civilized rule, 
but war where individual skill, endurance, gallantry and cruelty were the 
prime requisites. During the intervals of his more exciting pursuits the Indian 
employed his time in decorating his person with all the refinement of paint 
and feathers, and in the manufacture of his arms and of canoes. 

The main drudgery and labor of Indian communities fell upon the women. 
They planted, tended and gathered the crops, made mats and baskets e-^rried 
the burdens on the march— in fact they were but little better than slaves to 
the "braves." 

The area of the country orginally claimed by the Illinois was reduced by 
wars with their neighbors. The Sioux forced them eastward, and the four 
tribes already named encroached upon them from the north, and war parties 
from the Iroquois on the east rapidly lessened their numbers. 

The Illinois confederacy was in a decline when they first came in contact 
with the French, of which mention is hereafter made. 

The misfortunes of the Illinois drew them so kindly to the priests, the 
coureurs des bois and soldiers, that the friendship between the two races never 


The fatal dissolution of the Illinois rapidly proceeded, and their territory 
was largely appropriated by the Sacs. Foxes, Kickapoos and Pottawattamies. 

By successive treaties, their remaining lands in this state were ceded to 
the United States, and they were removed west of the Mississippi. In 1872, 
there remained of them but forty souls — men, women and children all told. 

Thus has disappeared the people who at one time occupied the larger part 
of Illinois and portions of Iowa and Missouri. In the year 1784 their single 
village at La Salle's colony could muster twelve hundred fighting men. When 
they were prosperous, at one time they nearly exterminated the Winnebagoes, 
and their war parties have penetrated the country of the Huron-Iroquois as 
far as the Mohawk and Genesee. 


The country of the Miamis, as has already been stated, extended west to 
the watershed between the Illinois and Wabash rivers, forming the eastern 
])oundaries of the Illinois tribes. To the north of the Miamis were the Potta- 
wattamies, who were steadily encroaching upon the territory of the Miamis. 

The Miamis held their own until they obtained possession of firearms, 
but the Illinois could not withstand their foes so long. 

In regard to the Pottawattamies, it is stated in an official letter to the 
secretary of war, March 22, 1814: "So long ago as 1795, at the treaty of 
Greenville, the Pottawattamies notified the Miamis that they intended to settle 
upon the Wabash." They made no pretensions to the country, and the only 
excuse for the intended aggression was that they were tired of eating fish 
and wanted meat. And they did come. They established villages upon the 
north and west bank of the Wabash and its tributaries fiowing in from that 
side of the stream above the Vermilion. 

They, with the Sacs, Foxes and Kickapoos. drove the Illinois into the vil- 
lages about Kaskaskia and divided the conquered territory among themselves, 
the Sacs and Foxes choosing that part to the north and west of the Illinois 
river. It is said that by the other tribes they were called squatters, who 
justly claimed that the Pottawattamies never had any land of their own and 
were only intruders. They were, however, foremost at all treaties and were 
clamorous for the lion's share of presents and annuities, particularly where the 
price given was for other's lands rather than their own. They also had vil- 
lages upon the Illinois and Kankakee rivers. 

After the Kickapoos and Pottawattamies had established themselves in the 


valley of the Wabash, it was mutually agreed between them and the Miamis 
that the river should be the dividing line, the two first-named tribes to occupy 
the west side of the stream. 

The Pottawattamies and Kiekapoos were among the last to leave their i)()s- 
sessions in Illinois and Indiana, and it was the people of these tribes with 
whom the settlers of this section of the country came, principally in contact. 
They ceased hostilities at the close of the war of 1812. The Pottawattamies 
owned extensive tracts of land on the Wabash, also on the Tippecanoe and 
other western tributaries of the Wabash, and elsewhere in northwestern Indi- 
ana, eastern Illinois and southern ]\Iichigan. The greater part of these reser- 
vations were retroceded to the United States, in exchange either for annuities 
or lands west of the IMississippi. As has already been noted, the Indians 
became greatly attached to the French. An Indian reservation on the Des 
Plaines river, in Cook county, was occupied by a band of Pottawattamies, 
whose chief was Alexander Robinson, the son of a Canadian voyageur and a 
Pottawattamie woman. 

His place was generally lively with Indians in the declining glories of their 
latter days. Groups of blanketed squaws, with their papooses slung on their 
backs, and an equal number of braves, bedaubed with paint and ornamented 
with feathers, hung around his home in listless dalliance. During the summer 
season their numbers were increased by visiting braves and their families from 
other reservations. 

Being half Indian and having a wife of the same race, he was shut out 
from civilized society generally, l)ut his character for integrity and his reputa- 
tion for excellence in those qualifications which make up the model citizen 
were Avidely published. When his tribe was removed, after carefully weigh- 
ing the matter, he chose civilized life, considering this for the children's best 
good. He continued to live on the reservation and became a farmer, esteemed 
by all who knew him. 

The final emigration of the Pottawattamies from the Wabash took place 
in the summer of 1838, and in 1846, the various bands of this great tribe were 
united west of the Mississippi, except a few scattered bands like the one men- 
tioned, who remained long after the departure of their brethren. 

In 1863, the tribe numbered two thousand two hundred and seventy-four 
men, women and children, which was an alarming decrease from the census 
of 1854, owing, no doubt, largely to two reasons — the return of many to their 
former home east of the Mississippi, and many of the younger men going west 
to the buffalo grounds. 


The Pottawattainics attested tlieir fidelity to the i^overnmeiit l)y the vohin- 
teering of seventy-five of their young men to service in the war of 1861. 


The Kiekapoos, when first met by the whites, inhabited the state of Wis- 
consin, but with the Sacs and Foxes gradually moved southward until they 
came in contact with the Illinois. Then unitiiiti' with the Pottawattamies in 
a warfare upon the Miamis and Illinois, they steadily drove these two tribes 
from a great portion of the territory occupied by them. 

The Kiekapoos early incurred the displeasure of the French by committing 
depredations upon the missionaries and others. It is said of this tribe that 
they were not inclined to receive religious impressions from the early 

Prior to 1718, the Kiekapoos had villages upon the banks of the Rock river 
and the Illinois. They are described as a clever people and brave warriors. 
Their language and manners strongly resembled those of the Foxes. "They 
catch deer by chasing them, and even at this day (1718) make considerable 
use of bows and arrows." 

Their progress south and west was no doubt largely owing to the fierce 
attacks of the Sioux, who were pressing on them from the northwest. The 
Kiekapoos and the Foxes, meditating a migration to the Wabash as a place of 
security from the Sioux, the French became alarmed lest their tribes should 
effect a junction with the Iroquois and English. The matter was adjusted 
by the French conciliating the Sioux, and for a number of years the Foxes 
and Kiekapoos remained upon their old hunting grounds in northern Illinois 
and southern Wisconsin. The theory has been advanced that the Mascoutins 
and Kiekapoos were bands of one tribe, first known to the French by the for- 
mer name, and subsequently to the English by the latter, under which name 
alone they figure in our later annals. This theory has been adopted for the 
purposes of this sketch. Another noticeable fact is, that with one exception, 
the Mascoutins were never known as such in any treaty with the United States, 
while the Kiekapoos were parties to many. In warfare, the Kiekapoos were 
inferior to the other tribes in movements requiring large numbers of men, but 
in predatory warfare they were preeminent. Their war parties usually num- 
bered from five to twenty-five persons. The boldness and daring of these 
small parties were very great. They would sometimes push out hundreds of 
miles from their villages and attack a feeble settlement or an isolated cabin, 


burn the buildings, steal the live-stock, capture the women and children, and 
then escape before a general alarm could be given. 

The Kickapoos were noted for their fondness for horses. They exhibited 
great skill and daring in stealing them. 

Their principal enemies seemed to be the Illinois, and after driving the 
latter into the southwestern part of the state, it is related that as late as 
1789 to 1796, their war parties kept the white settlements and the Illinois tribes 
in the vicinity of Kaskaskia in a state of continual alarm. During the time 
stated, they killed and captured many of that tribe, as well as a number of the 

After the close of the Pontiac war, the Kickapoos and Pottawattamies 
almost annihilated the Kaskaskias, a band of the Illinois, at a place called Bat- 
tle Ground Creek, between Kaskaskia and Shawneetown. The principal towns 
of the Kickapoos were on the left bank of the Illinois, near Peoria, and on the 
Vermilion of the Wabash, and at several points on the west bank of the Wa- 
bash. On the prairie they also had villages west of Charleston, Illinois, 
and in many of the groves scattered over the prairies in the section of country 
bounded on the north by the Kankakee river, on the east by the Wabash, and 
on the west by the Illinois, extending south to the Kaskaskia. The most nota- 
ble were their towns at Elkhart Grove, twelve miles north of Bloomington, 
and at Oliver's Grove in Livingston county, Illinois. Consequently that tract 
of country of which Ford county is a part must have been the hunting grounds 
of the Kickapoos after the removal of the Illinois tribes. 

These people became greatly attached to the country drained by the Ver- 
milion of the Wabash and its tributaries, and General Harrison had much 
difficulty in securing their consent to cede it to the general government. 

The Kickapoos were at the battle of Tippecanoe in considerable numbers, 
and fought with frenzied courage. During the war of 1812, they sided with 
the English, and sent out numerous war parties that kept the settlements in 
Illinois and Indiana territories in constant danger. 

When the latter war closed, the Kickapoos ceased active hostilities upon 
the whites, and within a few years afterward disposed of their lands in this 
state and Indiana, and with the exception of a few bauds, removed west of 
the Mississippi. 

Beckwith, an excellent authority, says of them: "As compared with 
other Indians, the Kickapoos were industrious, intelligent, and cleanly in their 
habits, and were better armed and clothed than the other tribes. The men, as 
a rule, were tall, sinewy and active; the women were lithe, and many of them 


by no means hu-kinti' in beauty. Their dialect was soft ami li(]uid, as (■(»iii- 
parecl with the rough and gutteral language of the Pottawattamies. They 
kept aloof from the white people as a rule, and in this way preserved their 
characteristics, and contracted fewer of the vices of the white man than other 
tribes. Their numbers were never great, as compared with the Miamis or Pot- 
tawattamies; however, they made up for the deficiency in this respect by the 
energy of their movements." 

Thus we have attempted to briefly sketch the red man as he once lived 
upon these prairies and in the groves but the space for this subject in a work 
of this character is necessarily quite limited. 

To summarize: We first find the Illinois and Miamis occupying this sec- 
tion of the country, wdth their dividing line running north and south, nearly 
identical with the range line of our county. Following them came the Kicka- 
poos and Pottawattamies, the former taking the place of the Illinois tribes, 
except that the Kickapoo villages and hunting grounds extended further east, 
including the Vermilion of the Wabash and its tributaries. 

The Indian came to this country, and now he has left it to return no 
more. He left the country no better as far as we can judge for having been 

We find the arrowheads and spearheads, saws, flesh-scrapers, hammers and 
spades made from stone, and all demanding great patience in their manufac- 
ture, because of the lack of suitable implements or machinery to produce 

It has been stated that the maize or Indian corn which they cultivated to 
a limited extent, and tobacco are the only contributions made by them to us 
in the way of products of the soil. 

"A noble race, but they are gone; 
And we have built our homes upon 
Fields where their generations slept." 


As early as 1784, Thomas Jefferson, then a member of congress, submitted 
a plan of government for all the territory from the southern to the northern 
boundary of the United States, all of which was expected to be ceded by the 
states claiming the same. By this plan seventeen states were to be formed 
from this territory. 

One of its provisions was "that after the year 1800 there shall be neither 


slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of said states, other than in the pun- 
ishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." This 
provision was rejected, not having seven states in its favor. 

This rejected provision was again proposed by Rufus King the following 
year. The proposition again failed. The ordinance of 1787, embracing in 
part the plan submitted by Mr. Jefferson in 1874, Avas reported by Nathan 

The legislative, executive and judicial powers were vested in a governor 
and three judges, who with the secretary were to be appointed by congress — 
the governor for three years, the judges during good behavior. 

The laws of the territory were to be such laws of the original states as 
the governor and judges should think proper to adopt. These laws were to 
be in force until disapproved by congress. When the territory shoukl contain 
five thousand free male inhabitants of full age, there was to lie a legis- 
lature, to consist of two branches — a house of representatives, the members to 
be chosen from the several counties or townships, for the term of two years, 
and a legislative council of five persons, who were to hold their offices for five 
years and to be appointed by congress out of ten persons previously nominated 
by the house of representatives of the territory. All laws were recpiired to 
be consistent with the ordinance, and to have the assent of the governor. 

The ordinance concludes with six articles of compact between the original 
states and the people of the territory, to be unalterable except by common 

The first secured entire religious freedom; the second, trial by jury, the 
writ of habeas corpus, and the other fundamental rights usually inserted in 
bills of rights ; the third provided for the encouragement and support of schools 
and enjoined good faith toward the Indians; the fourth placed the new states 
to be formed out of the territory upon an equal footing with the old ones 
both in respect to their privileges and their burdens, and reserved to the United 
States the right to dispose of the soil; the fifth authorized the future division 
of the territory into not less than three nor more than five states, each state to 
be admitted into the Union, when it should contain sixty lliousand inhabitants; 
the sixth was the anti-slavery proviso introduced by Thomas Jefferson in 1784, 
so modified as to take effect immediately. 

This ordinance, which left the territory south of the Ohio (then not yet 
ceded) subject to future regulation, received the unanimous vote of eight 
states present. 

General Arthur St. Clair, who was president of congress, was appointed 


military governor, and in the following snninier began his duties at ^larietta. 
In the year 1800, a line was drawn tlirough the northwestern territory from 
the mouth of the great ]\Iiami river to Fort Recovery, and thence to Canada. 

Two years afterward, the (-(nintry east of this line was erected in the state 
of Ohio and admitted into the Union. 

The portion west of this line was organized under the name of the Indi- 
ana territory. Vincennes was made the capital, and General William Henry 
Harrison received the appointment of governor. Indiana was admitted into 
tlie Union in 1816, near the close of JMadison's troubled administration. 

The Illinois territory was established February 3, 1809, and it included 
"all that part of the Indiana territory which lies west of the Wabash river 
and Post Vincennes due north to the territorial line between the United States 
and Canada." 

Kaskaskia was made the seat of government. 

John Boyle was appointed governor, but declined to serve. Ninian 
Edwards was then appointed. He served from April 24, 1809, to December 6, 
1818, when he was made United States senator for the new state of Illinois. 


Monroe's administration was noted for the great number of new members 
which were added to the Union. In 1818, Illinois, the twenty-first state, 
embracing an area of more than fifty-five thousand square miles, and extend- 
ing through more than five degrees of latitude, was organized and admitted. 
Two years later, when the general census was taken, Illinois ranked twenty- 
fourth as to population. From that time up to 1880, her advancement was 
rapid, and we noAv find only two states which outrank Illinois in population 
and wealth. Population of Illinois territory. 1810, twelve thousand two hun- 
dred and eighty-two ; population of Illinois state, 1820, fifty-five thousand one 
hundred and sixty-two ; population of Illinois state, 1880, three million seventy- 
eight thousand six hundred and tliirt\'-six ; population of Illinois state, 1900, 
four million and five hundred thousand. Under the Constitution of 1818, the 
elective officers were the governor and lieutenant governor, who held office for 
four years. The other state officers were appointed by the governor or chosen 
by the general assembly. 

By the Constitution of 1848, all of the state officers were made elective. 



Shadrack Bond, October 6, 1818 

Edward Coles December 5, 1822 

Ninian Edwards December 6, 1826 

John Reynolds December 9, 1830 

William L. D. Ewing November 17, 1834 

Joseph Duncan December 3, 1834 

Thomas Carlin December 7, 1838 

Thomas Ford December 8, 1842 

Augustus C. French December 9, 1846 

Augustus C. French January 8, 1849 

Joel A. Matteson January 10, 1853 

William H. Bissell January 12, 1857 

John Wood • March 21, 1860 

Richard Yates January 14, 1861 

Richard J. Oglesby January 16, 1865 

John M. Palmer January 11, 1869 

Richard J. Oglesby January 13, 1873 

John L. Beveridge January 23, 1873 

Shelby M. Cullom January 8, 1877 

Shelby M. Cullom January 10, 1881 

John L. Hamilton February 6, 1883 

Richard J. Oglesby 1885-89 

Joseph W. Fifer 1889-93 

John P. Altgeld 1893-97 

John R. Tanner 1897-01 

Richard Yates, son of Richard Yates, the war governor 1901-05 

Charles S. Deneen 1905-08 



Geographical Position — Illinois is bounded on the north by Wisconsin, on 
the east by Lake ]\Iichigan, Indiana and Kentucky, on the soutli l)y Kentucky 

and Missouri, and on the west by Missouri and Iowa by the Mississippi. It 
lies betw^een 37 degrees and 3 minutes and 42 degrees and 30 minutes north 
latitude, and between 10 degrees and 30 minutes and 14 degrees and 25 in in- 


utc's longitude west from Washington. Tlie greatest breadth of the state from 
east to west is two hundred and ten miles, and its extreme length from north 
to south three hundred and seventy-eight miles. The general form of the state 
is that of an ellipsoid, truneated at its northern extremity. The superficial 
area is about fifty-five thousand five hundred and tliirty-one square miles, or 
thirty-five million five hundred and thirty-nine thousand eiglit hundred and 
forty acres. 

Face of the Country — The surface of the country is generally level or 
gently rolling, although in the southern part near the large rivers it is quite 
broken and hilly. Illinois is properly termed the prairie state; for, in no 
other part of the country are there to be found such vast expanses of level 
prairie as here. To the eye of the observer they mark the plane of the horizon 
in every direction, and seem limitless as the ocean. As a general rule they 
occupy the higher grounds. The timber is principally confined to the lower 
lands, along the breaks and valleys of the streams. The highest lands in the 
state are in the extreme northwestern part, and are known as the mounds, 
which are about eleven hundred feet above the level of the sea. From Free- 
port southward there is a gradual descent through the entire length of the 
state, except where it is broken b^^ a ridge crossing from east to west through 
Union, Johnson and Pope counties. This ridge attains an elevation of about 
nine hundred feet above the sea, while the elevation at Cairo is but three hun- 
dred and fifty feet. 

Rivers — The general slope of the watershed is to the southAvest, and nearly 
all the principal streanLs, after a general course in that direction, flow into 
the Mississippi. A few in the southeast portion of the state empty into the 
Wabash, while some small ones in the extreme south find their outlet in the 
Ohio. The largest river flowing through the state is the Illinois, which is 
formed by the junction of the Des Plaines and Kankakee, the former rising 
in Wisconsin and the latter in Indiana. The Rock and Kaskaskia rivers are 
streams of considerable importance, the first running through the northern and 
the latter through the southern portion of the state. More than three-fourths 
of the circumference of the state is bounded by navigable rivers, the Wabash 
on the east, the Ohio on the south, and the Mississippi on the west. The 
two last named are among the largest of the world, and afford transportation 
for all classes of steamers. The Mississippi, the great "Father of Waters," 
extends along the western boundary a distance of over five hundred miles. 

Lakes — A remarkal)le feature of Illinois is the almost entire absence of nat- 


ural lakes or ponds. A few small ones only are found in the northeastern 
and southwestern parts of the state. There is, however, a coast line of about 
sixty miles, extending along Lake Michigan, one of the largest of the five great 
North American lakes. 

Soil and Climate — As an agricultural state, Illinois stands without an 
equal. Possessing a soil of unsurpassed fertility, and a climatic range of 
five and a half degrees of latitude, it yields a greater amount and variety of 
botanical production than any other state in the Union. No large tracts of 
worthless lands, such as characterize the topography of all the other states, are 
to be found here, but the farmer in all portions of the commonwealth obtains 
a rich reward for his labor. In the northern and central portions of the 
state are raised in abundance nearly all those plants which are common in the 
north temperate zone, while in the vicinity of Cairo, both the animal and vege- 
table productions partake of a semi-tropical character. The amount of rain 
which falls each year is fully one-half greater at the southern extremity of the 
state than at the northern, and the average difference in temperature is about 
ten degrees Fahrenheit. 

Minerals — No natural deposits of gold or silver are known to exist; yet 
the mineral productions of the state are not unimportant. Fire clay, potter's 
clay, and valuable ci[uarries of building stone are found in various localities. 
Rich mines of lead exist in the vicinity of Galena, and iron ore in considerable 
quantities is obtained in the southeastern part of the state. Coal is the most 
valuable mineral in Illinois. The coal fields are destined to gaow more and 
more important, as their resources are developed, and their value can hardly 
be overestimated. The coal-bearing strata covers more than two-thirds of the 
entire surface of the state, and the mines are believed to be inexhaustible. 


Illinois was originally a part of Florida. In 1543 it became a Spanish 
colony. Northern Illinois was included in the territory granted in 1620 to 
the Plymouth Company by King James, and was therefore claimed by Great 
Britain. In 1673 the Mississippi river was discovered by Marquette and Jol- 
iet. In the same year they ascended the Illinois river; and in 1679 Robert 
Cavalier De La Salle made further discoveries, descending the Kankakee to 
its mouth. Kaskaskia and Cahokia, the oldest towns on the Mississippi river, 
were settled by the French in 1682. Illinois at this time contained but few 
white inhabitants. In 1699 it became a part of Louisiana, and so remained 


until 1763, when it was ceded to England. The white population now num- 
bered about three thousand, mostly French, the principal settlements being at 
Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Peoria, Prairie Du Rochor, Prairie Du Pont and Fort 
Chartres. In 1778 Kaskaskia, Cahokia and other settlements were captured 
by four companies of Virginians, under Colonel Clarke, and in October of the 
same year an act was passed by the Virginia legislature, establishing the 
"County of Illinois," which embraced all of Virginia northwest of Ohio. In 
1784 it was ceded by Virginia to the United States, and in 1787 congress passed 
an ordinance for the government of all territory northwest of the Ohio river, 
Arthur St. Clair being appointed the first governor. In 1803 Indiana, includ- 
ing Illinois and "Wisconsin, was erected into a separate territory, and six years 
later, the present state of Illinois became a territory by itself. In 1812 it 
passed from the first to the second grade of territorial government, and sent 
a delegate to congress. The right of suffrage was at this time extended to the 
people, without regard to property qualifications. On the 3d of December, 
1818, Illinois was admitted into the Union as a sovereign and independent 
state. One section of land in each township was at once donated for school 
use, and two townships in the state for the use of a seminary. Since that 
time, the growth of Illinois has been astonishingly rapid, and it now ranks the 
fourth state in the Union in wealth, population and importance. The num- 
ber of its white inhabitants in 1800 was only about 3.000. In 1810 the number 
had increased to 12, 282; in 1820 to 57,000; in 1830 to 157,000; in 1840 to 
476,000; in 1850 to 851,470; in 1860 to 1,711,951; in 1865 to 2,141,510; in 
1870 to 2,539,891; and in 1880 to 3,077,871. Chicago, its largest city, con- 
tains a population of over 2,000,000. The foreign population of Illinois is 
largely composed of Germans, Irish, Welsh, Scotch, French, Swiss, Swedes, 
Danes and Poles. Of tlie American born, the north part of the state is set- 
tled principally from New York and New England, the central from Ohio, 
Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the southern from Kentucky, Tennessee and 
the Carolinas. 

Internal Improvements — The works of art compare favorably with those 
of the older states. It has not been a century since Illinois was admitted 
into the Union, yet the number and value of her internal improvements already 
completed are immense. Many thousands of miles of railroad lines are in 
successful operation and more are in the process of construction. The number 
and character of the splendid edifices which have been erected for courthouses, 
humane institutions, seminaries of learning and churches, and the other public 
works which adorn the state, bespeak at once the enterprise, intelligence and 
moral worth of the people. 


Politics — Illinois is at present a republican state. The northern part is 
almost exclusively controlled by the dominant party, while the central is gen- 
erally democratic, and the extreme southern — familiarly known as Egypt — is 
about equally divided between the two parties. 


All the surveys of Illinois are made from three established lines, known 
as the second, third and fourth principal meridians. The second principal 
meridian runs due north from the mouth of the Little Blue river in Indiana. 
The third principal meridian, due north from the mouth of the Ohio river. 
The fourth principal meridian starts at the mouth of the Illinois river, follows 
up the stream to a point opposite Beardstown, and runs thence due north. 

Townships lying west of the third principal meridian and the Illinois 
river number nortli and south from a base-line which runs due west from 
Beardstown. All the other townships number north and south from a base- 
line which runs through the center of St. Clair county. 

Ranges number from the fourth principal meridian west to the IMississippi 
river and east to the third principal meridian and the Illinois river, and from 
the third principal meridian west to the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. 

Ranges east of the third principal meridian and north of a line passing 
through the center of Kankakee county number from said meridian east to the 
state line. The other ranges number from the third principal meridian, east 
to the eastern line of range eleven, and west from the second principal merid- 
ian to the same line. 

Each township is six miles square, and is divided into sections, which num- 
ber from one to thirty-six ; number one being in the northeast corner of the 
township. Each regular section contains six hundred and forty acres. Frac- 
tional townships are occasioned by inaccurate surveys. Fractional sections' 
are due to the same cause, and are usually found on the north and west side 
of each township. Correction lines, running east and west, are established at 
distances of about thirty miles apart, for the purpose of preventing such errors 
as would naturally be occasioned by the curvature of the earth. 


Of the varied economic resources of Illinois, only those whicli are of 
supreme importance to the state as a whole, such as agriculture, mining, bank- 


ing, transportation and manufacturing industries, will be briefly reviewed in 
this article. 

Agriculture is one of the greatest industries of the state. The large yield 
of those crops for which the state is adapted make ample amends for what- 
ever deficiency there may be in the variety of products. In 1900, out of 
the total acreage of thirty-two million seven hundred and ninety-four thousand 
and seven hundred and twenty-eight acres in the state, twenty-seven million 
six hundred and ninety-nine thousand two hundred and nineteen acres were 
improved land. In the value of farm property, Illinois leads the list of states 
with a total value of two billion four million three hundred and sixteen thou- 
sand ("iti'ht hundred and ninety seven dollars. In the value of farm products, 
Iowa takes the lead ^\'ith an annual product of three hundred and sixty-five 
million four hundred and eleven thousand five hundred and twenty eight dol- 
lars in comparison with three hundred and forty-five million six hundred and 
forty-nine thousand six hundred and eleven dollars for Illinois. The improved 
acreage of the state in 1905 was divided among the various leading crops as 
follows: "Wheat, one million four hundred and forty-seven thousand seven 
hundred and sixty-four acres ; oats, three million two hundred and forty-two 
thousand seven hundred and sixty-two acres ; corn, seven million seven hundred 
and forty-three thousand three hundred and sixty-one acres; hay, two million 
five hundred and sixteen thousand seven hundred and ninety-three acres; rye, 
eighty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty acres ; barley, twenty-nine thou- 
sand six hundred and sixty-three acres, with four million two hundred and 
eighty-six thousand two hundred and ninety-six acres in pasture. 

Although in acreage of cereals in 1900, Iowa ranked first with sixteen mil- 
lion nine hundred and thirty thousand and ninety-five acres, and Illinois second 
with sixteen million seven hundred and sixty-nine thousand and ten acres, yet 
Illinois ranked first in the Union in value of all crops, the valuation being two 
hundred and twelve million two hundred and seventy-six thousand eight hun- 
dred and sixteen dollars, Iowa and Ohio following in order. In value of cer- 
eals, Illinois again led with a production valued at one hundred and sixty-four 
million seven hundred and eighty-four thousand four hundred and thirty seven 
dollars, Iowa and Ohio following as in the value of all crops. Among specific 
products, Illinois produced three hundred and ninety-eight million one hundred 
and forty-nine thousand one hundred and forty bushels of corn, enough to 
place her fifteen million beyond her nearest competitor in 1900. In the pro- 
duction of oats, the state was likewise twelve million bushels in advance of any 
other state, with a total production of one hundred and eighty million three 


hundred and five thousand six hundred and thirty hushels. In 1900. Illinois 
produced sixty million six hundred and sixty-five thousand five hundred and 
twenty pounds of the ninety million nine hundred and forty-seven thousand 
three hundred and seventy pounds of broom corn produced in the entire United 
States. The number of tons of hay and forage crops, three million nine hundred 
and forty-eight thousand five hundred and sixty-three tons, placed Illi- 
nois in the sixth place, and in rye, the state ranked eighth. Two hundred and 
fifty-six thousand two hundred and thirteen acres were devoted to the growing 
of vegetables, which were produced to the value of ten million three hundred 
and forty-six thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven dollars. In the num- 
ber of apple trees, Illinois ranked third among the states, with a production of 
nine million one hundred and seventy-eight thousand one hundred and fift.v 
bushels apples. These figures show the importance of agriculture in Illinois, 
and the high position which the state takes among the states of the Union in 
agricultural products. 

Next in importance to agriculture in the natural products of the state is 
coal. Only one state in the Union surpasses Illinois in value of coal pro- 
duced. All the coal that is found in this state is bituminous, differing in value 
at the mines from one dollar and thirty-seven cents per ton for lump coal to 
fifty-six cents per ton for pea coal. The total output of the state for 1904 
was thirty-seven million seventy-seven thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven 
tons compared with fifteen million six hundred and sixty thousand six hundred 
and ninety-eight tons in 1891, an increase of nearly twent.v-two million tons, 
or over one hundred and forty per cent. The number of mines in 1904 was 
nine hundred and thirty-two, an increase of fourteen since 1891, and the num- 
ber of hands employed in the mines had increased from thirty-two thousand 
nine hundred and fifty-one to forty-nine thousand three hundred and sixt.v- 
one. The total value of the coal at the mines was forty million seven hundred 
and seventy-four thousand two hundred and twenty-three dollars. In respect 
to the distribution of the industry over the state, Sangamon county led with 
a production of four million five hundred and sixteen thousand three hundred 
and fifty-eight tons, St. Clair county second with three million four hundred 
and eighteen thousand four hundred and seventy-nine tons and Vermilion 
county was third with a production of three million one hundred and fourteen 
thousand and sixty tons. It is a significant fact as sliowing the extent of the 
distribution of coal in the state, that out of tli(> one hundred and two ('ounti(>s, 
fifty-four are coal producing. 

No statement of the industrial activity of the state would be complete 



witliont something being said of the banking business. Banks are so essential 
to tlio l)usiness world of today, that the volume of their transactions are a fair 
indication of the business life of the state. During the last few yeai-s, Chi- 
cago has passed Ixith Philadelphia and lioston in the amount of her clearing- 
house transactions, the amount of clearances for 1904 being eight billion eight 
hundred and eight million ninety-three thousand tAvo hundred and sixty-eight 
dollars. The number of national banks in the state in 1904 was three hundred 
aiul twenty-four with a capitalization of forty-eight million eight hundred and 
eleven thousand dollars, and a surplus of twenty-two million two hundred aiul 
eighty-nine thousand dollars. The number of state banks for the same year 
was two hundred and eighty-five with a capital of thirty-eight million nine hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars and a surplus of twenty-five million six hun- 
dred and thirty thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven dollars. Of the 
two hundred and eighty-five state banks, one hundred and nineteen were oper- 
ating savings departments and thirty were exercising trust powers. The inimlxT 
of private l)aii]\s in 1!)()2 was six hundi-ed and thirty-eight, capitalized at 
thirteen million twelve thousand one hundred and fifty-three dollars, and hav- 
ing a surplus of two million five hundred and fifty-seven thousand three 
Inindred and two dollars. There were fortv-three trust companies in 1904; of 
this number thirty were operating under the State Banking Act of 1887, three 
were or'^'anizcd under the Trust Company Act of 1887, with a capital of five 
million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars and a surplus of one million 
one hundred and eighteen thousand four hundred and four dollars, and ten 
were foreign corporations qualified as trust companies. This makes a grand 
total of one thousand two hundred and sixty banking institutions in the state 
with a capital of one hundred and six million five hundred and twenty-three 
thoiLsand one hundred and fifty-three dollars, and a surplus of fifty-one mil- 
lion five hundred and ninety-five thousand five hundred and thirty-three 
dollars. These figures when compared with those of 1890 show what an enormous 
development has taken place in the banking business during the last fourteen 
years. In 1904, as stated above, there were three hundred and twenty-four 
national banks; in 1890 there were one hundred and seventy-seven. In 1904, 
there were two hundred and eighty-five state banks; in 1890 there were forty. 
In 1902 there were six hundred and thirty-eight private banks; in 1890 there 
were one hundred and sixty-four. In 1904 there were thirty-three trust com- 
panies; in 1890 there were only seventeen. In 1890 there was a grand total 
of three hundred and eighty-eight banking institutions in the state with a 
capitalization of twenty-eight million two hundred and sixty-five thousand 


three hundred and sixty-three dollars and a surplus of nine million seventy- 
three thousand four hundred and thirty-two dollars; in 1904 the number was 
one thousand two hundred and sixty, the capitalization one hundred and six 
million five hundred and twenty-three thousand one hundred and fifty-three dol- 
lars, and the surplus fifty-one million five hundred and ninety-five thousand five 
hundred and thirty-three dollars, an increase in each of these items of over 
two hundred and seventy-five per cent. Such increases show not only the 
increase of banking transactions, but also the great development of all kinds 
of business to the needs of which the banks respond. 

For three decades, Illinois has led in miles of railroad. With abundant 
supplies of bituminous coal throughout the state, mining, manufacturing and 
railroads have developed together. There were in 1904 in Illinois eleven thou- 
sand six hundred and thirty-six miles of main line and enough more in 
branches, second, industrial and yard tracks to make the total mileage twenty 
thousand and sixty-five. In 1900 there were nineteen and sixty-five hundredths 
for every one hundred square miles of territory. The only states approaching 
Illinois in amount of mileage are Pennsylvania and Texas, Pennsylvania 
having slightly more miles per one hundred square miles and Texas but one- 
seventh as much per one hundred square miles. The number of employes of 
the railroads in Illinois in 1904 were one hundred and fiftpen thousand four 
hundred and seven, to whom wages to the sum of seventy-two million seventy- 
eight thousand three hundred and ninety-seven dollars were paid. The number 
of passengers carried in Illinois was fifty-three million five hundred and 
forty-seven thousand two hundred and ninety, and the number of passengers 

carried one mile was one billion seven hundred and fifty-four million nine hun- 
dred and nine thousand, three hundred and twenty-six. The number of tons 
of freight carried was one hundred and twenty-three million five hundred and 
eighty-four thousand and seventy-eight, a total of twelve billion five hundred 
and seventy-eight million two hundred and se-^^enteen thousnnd i^vo ]^m^<^ro(} 
and eighty-six ton-miles. From the passenger service thirty-eight million eight 
hundred and forty-five thousand five hundred and twenty-two dollars was 
derived and from the freight service eighty-eight million four Inindred and six 
thousand five hundred and fortA-two dollars earnings were received, the total 
earnings and income for the railroads in Illinois for the year 1904 being one 
hundred and forty-one million four hundred and fifty-four thousand, four hun- 
dred and fifty-nine dollars. In 1890, fourteen years earlier, although there 
was nearly the same amount of main track in Illinois, only twenty-four million 
nine hundred and ten thousand eight hundred and twenty passengers were 


carried, over seventeen million less than in 1001. The inunl)er of passengers 
carried one mile has increased nearly one hnndred per cent in the short inter- 
val of ten years. The tons of freiolit had increased from forty-eisfht million 
in round ]niin))crs to eiyhty-eiglit million dufiii<;- the same period. The total 
income had increased from seventy-three million to one hnndred and eij?ht mil- 
lion dollars. These figures show that railroad building is pretty well 
advanced in Illinois, that new construction is proceeding slowly, as it should, 
but that greater use is being made of existing facilities. 

It is in manufactures that the great expansion of the state's energies is 
now taking place. This accounts in some degree for the unusual increase in 
the urban population of the state. The high rank of Illinois as a manufac- 
turing state as stated in the census of 1900 is due primarily to its transporta- 
tion facilities. The communication with the east afforded by Lake Michigan 
has made Chicago the great distributing center for eastern products to all 
points in the middle west, while the Mississippi affords communication with 
the entire Mississippi valley. The importance of railroads has already been 
touched upon. As a result of these facilities and because of her great natural 
resources, Illinois is only surpassed by New York and Pennsylvania in the 
value of her manufactured products, according to the census of 1900, being 
one billion two hundred and fifty-nine million seven hundred and thirty thou- 
sand one hundred and sixty-eight dollars ; an increase of over three hundred 
per cent since 1880. In the amount of capital invested in manufactures, Illi- 
nois ranks fourth among the states, with an investment of seven hundred and 
seventy-six million eight hundred and twenty-eight thousand five hundred and 
ninety-eight dollars in contrast with one hundred and forty million six hundred 
and fifty-two thousand and sixty-six dollars invested in manufactures in 1880. 
In the number of wage-earners dependent upon manufacturers, Illinois ranks 
fourth with a total of three hundred and ninety-five thousand one hundred and 
ten wage-earners, to whom one hundred and ninety-one million five hnndred 
and ten thousand nine hundred and sixty-two dollars was ])aid in wages. The 
cost of materials used was seven hundred and thirty-nine million seven hundred 
and fifty-four thousand, four hundred and fourteen. The per capita production 
of manufactured goods for the state exceeded two hundred and fifty dollars 
in 1900. 

In value of manufactured goods in specific industries, Illinois ranks first 
among the states in the manufacture of agricultural implements, bicycles and 
tricycles, steam railroad cars, glucose, distilled li(iu()rs. and wnlchcs, and in tlie 
products of its slaughtering and meat packing establishments. It ranks 


second in the manufacture of factory furniture, men's clothing, soaps, and in 
printing and publishing, l)<)th in Ijooks and in joh work. Forty-one and one- 
half i)er cent of all the agricultural implements of the country are manufactured 
in the ninety-four plants of Illinois, employing twenty-two thousand three 
hundred and ninety-four men. The importance of the slaughtering and meat 
packing industry is well known. There are sixty-four plants in the state, 
employing twenty-seven thousand eight hiuidred and sixty-one men and turning 
out products to the value of t^vo hundred eight^'-seven million nine huiulred 
twenty-two thousand two hundred seventy-seven dollars. It is this industry 
in addition to many of lesser importance, which has made Chicago the second 
manufacturing city in the world. 

In the production of iron and steel, Illinois ranks third, Pennsylvania and 
Ohio taking the lead. There are twenty-six plants in Illinois, having a capital 
of forty-three million three hundred fifty-six thousand two hundred thirty-nine 
dollars, employing sixteen thousand six hundred forty-two men, paying in wages 
nine million six hundred forty thousand seven hundred sixteen dollars, and 
turning out a product valued at sixty million, three hundred three thousand one 
hundred forty -four dollars. Besides these larger industries, there are numerous 
carriage and wagon factories, ship-building establishments, locomotive works, 
papermills, flourmills, canning factories, clothing factories, malt liquor estab- 
lishments, which turned out products to the value of nineteen million seven 
hundred thirty-three thousand eight hundred twenty-one dollars in 1900, 
distilleries, manufactories for chemicals, finished leather, and numerous other 
products whose total annual value exceeds one million dollars. 

Because of its significance, the printing and pul)lishing industry deserves 
separate attention. In the state there are one thousand seven hundred fifty-five 
regular publications, having an aggregate circulation per issue of ten million 
four hundred twenty-nine thousand three hundred and sixty-eight, and an 
average circulation per issue of six thousand seven hundred thirty-seven. 

From the al)ove brief statistics and comparisons, it is seen that Illinois with 
fifty-six thousand scjuare miles of territory and ahnost fi\-e million inhabitants 
is a state with truly imperial resources. Her innnense coal fields widely dis- 
tributed, producing thirty-seven million tons each xcar; iiei- twenty-thousand 
miles of railroad, making a netwoi'k of ii-on over the state; her rail and water 
couanuuication with tlie east and the whole Mississippi valley afi'ording unri\ale(l 
means of transportation ; her mow than twelve hundred banking institutions, 
possessing a grand total of one hundred and fifty million dollars capital and 
surplus ; her twenty-seven million acres of improved land producing an anniuxl 


product valued at three hundred fortj^-five million dollars; her thirty-eiglit 
thousand manufacturing establishments, using materials valued at three-quarters 
of a billion dollars and turning out a product valued at one and one-cpiarter 
billion dollars; all these resources combine to give Illinois a proud position 
among the sisterhood or states. 


Within a short time after the organization of Illinois territory, two counties 
St. Clair and Randolph, were formed. These two counties have been gradually 
subdivided until now there are one hundred and two comities within Ihe 
boundaries of this state. Ford was the last county organized. To show 
whence we came as a county, the following letter is inserted: 

Springfield, February 11, 1881. 
]\ferton Dunlap, Esq., Connty Clerk, Ford County, Paxton, 111. : 

Dear Sir — Your communication of the 8th inst. at hand, and in response 
thereto, have to say that the following named counties comprised the state of 
Illinois in the year 1818, to-wit : 

St. Clair, organized April 28, 1809. 

Randolph, organized April 28, 1809. 

Madison, organized September 14, 1812. 

Gallatin, organized September 14, 1812. 

Johnson, organized September 14, 1812. 

Edwards, organized November 28, 1814. 

White, organized December 9, 1815. 

Jackson, organized January- 10, 1816. 

Pope, organized April 1, 1816. 

IMonroe, organized June 1, 1816. 

Crawford, organized December 31, 1816. 

Bond, organized January 4, 1817. 

Union, organized January 2, 1818. 

Washington, organized January 2, 1818. 

Franklin, organized January 2, 1818. 
Vermilion county was organized by an act of the general assembly, ai)proved 
January 18, 1826, and embraced all that tract of country within the following 
bounds, to-wit : Beginning on the state line between Illinois and Indiana, at the 
northeast corner of Edgar county; thence west with the line dividing townships 
16 and 17, to the southwest corner of township 17 north, range 10, east of third 


principal meridian; thence north to the northwest corner of township 22 north; 
thence east to the state line ; thence south with the state liue to the place of 

Vermilion county was formed out of territory attached to Edgar county for 
county purposes. 

Edgar county was organized January 3. 1828. and at that date the territory 
now embraced in Vermilion county was attached to the county of Edgar. 

Clark county was organized March 22. 1819, and at that date the territory 
now comprising the county of Vermilion formed part of Clark. 

Crawford county was organized December 31, 1816, and at that date the 
territory now embraced in Vermilion county formed part of Crawford. 

Edwards county was organized November 28, 1814, and at that date the 
territory now embraced in Vermilion county formed i)art of Edwards. 

St. Clair county was organized April 28, 1809, and at that date the territory 
now embraced in Vermilion county formed part of St. Clair. 

The territory attached to Vermilion county embraced all the country now 
occupied by Champaign, Iroijuois and Ford counties; two tiers of townships on 
the east side of Livingston; two-thirds of the width of Grundy county south of 
the Kankakee, and nearly one and one-half congressional townships in the south- 
west corner of Will. 

Iroquois county was formed February 26, 1833. 
Champaign county was formed February 20, 1833. 
Livingston county was formed February 27, 1837. 
Grundy county was formed February 17, 1841. 
Will county was formed Januarj^ 12, 1836. 
Ford county was formed February 17, 1859. 

Very respectfully yours, 

Henry D. Dement, 

Secretary of State. 
Although Ford was the last county of the state organized, she is not tli(^ 
least as many supjiose. 

In population Ford county numbered as follows: 1860, 1,979; 1870. 9.103; 
1880, 1.505; 1900. 18,259. At the date of the last census there were twenty-six 
counties in this state containing a less iunnl)er of inhabitants than Ford. 

Forty-five counties have a smaller acreage than this county, as shown by 
the reports of the State Hoard of E((ualization. 

This county received its name in honor of Thomas Ford, the eighth governor 


of Illinois (if the adiiiinisti'ation of W. L. D. Ewing, covering sixteen days, is 
to be counted as a term, otherwise Governor Ford's would be the seventh). 

Thomas Ford was born in UniontoAvn, Pennsylvania, in the year 1800. 
His father was killed by the Indians when Thomas was but two years old. In 
1804, his mother, with her large family of children, removed to St. Louis, 
IMissouri, and two years later settled in IMonroe county, Illinois. 

This mother was a good manager, energetic, and determined that her sons 
should become good citizens. Governor Ford's boyhood was mostly spent in 
earning something for the family support, attending an occasional session of 
the county school, and one term at the Trans^dvania University. He then 
studied law with Daniel P. Cook, a congressman, and soon thereafter com- 
manded a remunerative class of clients. 

In 1829, he was appointed prosecuting attorney, and was reappointed in 

Afterward he served two terms as circuit judge, one term as .judge of the 
circuit court at Chicago, and one term as judge of the supreme court. In 1837 
the financial panic then sweeping over the country visited Illinois with the most 
destructive effect. The state had become embarrassed as a consequence of 
loaning her credit to various projects of internal improvements, notably that of 
building railroads, and for the purpose of establishing a state bank and branches. 
The panic came, the internal improvement plans collapsed, the banks failed, the 
state bonds experienced a heavy decline, public confidence was lost, credit 
disappeared, and biLsiness of every kind was completely prostrated. This 
unfortunate condition of affairs continued for a period of several years. In 
1842, Thomas Ford was chosen governor; the state debt then amounted to 
fourteen million dollars. It was during his able administration, and chiefly 
upon his recommendation, that a series of wise financial measures were brought 
forward in legislature. The fallen credit of the commonwealth was restored, 
confidence reestablished, and a fresh impetus given to trade and agricultural 

In his first message, he says: "We must convince our creditors and the 
world that the disgrace of repudiation is not countenanced among us, that we are 
honest and mean to pay as soon as w^e are able. ' ' 

When Governor Ford delivered the reins of government to his successor, in- 
stead of a domestic debt for the ordinary expenses of the state amounting to 
almost one-third of a million dollars, we find it reduced to thirty-one thousand 
two hundred twelve dollars, with nine thousand two liuiidred sixty dollars in 
the treasury. 


Governor Ford in his personality is described as ' ' short in stature, slender, 
dark eomplexioned, heavy dark hair, deep set eyes, sharp nose and small mouth. ' ' 

He sa^'s in his valedictory message: "Without having indulged in wasteful 
or extravagant habits of living, I retire from office poorer than I came in, and 
go to private life with the full determination not to seek again any place in the 
government. ' ' 

He died at Peoria November 2, 1850, in very indigent circumstances. 


An act to Create the County of Ford and for Other Purposes : 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the people of the state of Illinois represented 
in the general assembly, That all that portion of Vermilion county lying and be- 
ing within the following boundaries and described as follows, to- wit: 

Beginning at the northeast corner of Champaign county, running thence 
north of the south line of Iroquois county, thence west to the southwest corner of 
Iroquois county, thence north to the northwest corner of Iroquois county, thence 
west to Livingston county, thence south to the southeast corner of Livingston 
county, thence west to McLean county, thence south to the northwest corner of 
Champaign county, thence east to the place of beginning, be and the same is 
hereby created into a new county, to be called the county of Ford : Provided 
that a majority of all the- legal voters of said county of Vermilion voting on the 
(Question shall vote for said new county, at an election to be held in manner 
hereinafter provided. 

Sec 2. The qualified voters of said county of Vermilion may at a special 
election to be held in the several towns in said county on the first Tuesday in 
April next, vote for or against the creation of said new county of Ford by ballot 
upon which shall be written or printed or partly written and partly printinl 1h(^ 
words, "For the new county," or "Against the new county." 

Sec. 3. The clerk of the county court of said county of Vermilion shall give 
notice of said election in the several election districts of said county in the same 
manner as notice of general or especial elections are given in counties which have 
not adopted township organization as nearly as may be, and the judges and 
clerks of election in the several election districts of said county shall keep a list 
of the voters polled at said election, and conduct the same in all respects and 
make return thereof to the clerk of the county court in the same manner as is 
provided by law for general elections. All vacancies in the bt)ar(l of election shall 




be filled in the same manner as is provided by law in other cases. The clerk of 
said county court shall within seven days after said election, or as soon there- 
after as said returns shall be received, proceed to canvass the returns of said 
election in the same manner as in general elections, and shall within five days 
thereafter make return of said vote to the secretary of state. 

Sec. 4. If it shall appear that a majority of all the voters in said county 
of Vermilion voting upon the question, have voted in favor of the creation of 
said new county of Ford, then there shall be held a special election in the several 
towns and precincts within the limits of this act described for said new county 
of Ford, on the first Monday in June next for county officers. In case of frac- 
tional towns or precincts which have become detached by the boundaries of the 
said new county the voters thereof may at the first election for county officers 
vote within such town or precinct within said new county as they deem most 
convenient. The said election to be conducted by the judges of election then 
in office under appointment or election in said county of Vermilion, and to be 

held at the place of holding the last general election. In case of vacancy in the 
board of election, or non-attendance, said vacancy or place of any absentee shall 

be filled in the same manner as is provided by law in other cases of election. At 
which election the qualified voters of said county of Ford shall elect all county 
officers for said county except such as hereinafter are excepted who shall be com- 
missioned and ciualified in the same manner as such officers are in other counties 
in this state, and who shall continue in office until the next general election for 
such officers and until their successors are elected and cpialificd, and who shall 
have all the jurisdiction and perform all the duties which are or may be con- 
ferred upon such officers in other counties of this state. 

Sec. 5. All the justices of the peace, constables or other town or precinct 
officers who have been heretofore elected and qualified in said county of Ver- 
milion whose term of office shall not have expired at the time of said election 
and whose residence shall be embraced within the limits of said county of 
Ford shall continue in office until their term of office shall expire, and until 
their successors shall be elected and qualified. 

Sec. 6. For the purpose of fixing the permanent location of the county 
seat of said county of Ford, the voters of said county shall at said election for 
county officers vote for some place to be designated upon their ballots for a 
county seat, upon which ballots shall be written or printed, or partly written 

and partly printed, "For county seat " after which words shall be 

written or printed the name of the place intended for the county seat. The 
place receiving a majority of all the votes cast upon the question shall be the 

LIBRARY "^"-^ — ■ 
University of u' 


county seat of said county of Ford, but if no one place sliall receive a majority 
of all the votes cast upon the question, then it shall be the dut}' of the t-ounty 
court of said county to call another election within thirty days thereafter at 
the several places of holding elections in said county, at whirh election the vot- 
ers of said county shall proceed to vote as before, but shall choose from the 
two places having the greater inimber of votes at the former election, and the 
place having the majority of all the votes cast at the second election shall be 
the permanent county seat of said county of Ford. 

Sec. 7. The notice of said election for county officers shall be given hy the 
clerk of the county court of Vermilion county in the same manner as in cases 
of general elections; said notice shall specify that a vote will be taken upon 
the location of the county seat. The returns of said election for county offi- 
cers shall be made to the clerk of said court, who shall cause the same to be 
opened and canvassed and returns thereof made in the same manner as is pro- 
vided by law in other cases. 

Sec. 8. All suits and prosecutions that have been or may be commenced 
in said county of Vermilion, including all the proceedings in the county court, 
in matters of probate before the organization of said county of Ford, shall not 
be affected by this act or the operation thereof, l)ut all such suits, prosecutions 
and proceedings shall be prosecuted, and conducted to their final termination 
in said county of Vermilion, and the officers of said county are hereby author- 
ized to execute all writs that may be necessary for the completion of said suits, 
prosecutions or proceedings within the limits of said county of Ford, and all 
judgments that may have heretofore been obtained, or that may hereafter be 
obtained in said county of Vermilion before the organization of said county of 
Ford, shall have the same lien upon all property within the limits of said 
county of Ford as if the said territory had not been created into a separate 

Sec. 9. As soon as the county officers shall have been elected and (pialified 
as aforesaid, the said county of Ford shall be considered organized. The oath 
of office may be administered to the several country officers by any person within 
the limits of the new county authorized by law to administer oaths, and as soon 
as said county is organized, the clerk of the circuit court shall give notice 
thereof to the judge of the circuit in which said county may be embraced, who 
shall thereupon hold court at such place in said county of Ford as the county 
court thereof shall designate until the county seat of said county shall become 
permanently located as heretofore provided, which court shall be holden at 
such times as the judge of said circuit shall appoint until otherwise provided 


by law, the said eoiint.y of Ford shall be taken and considered as a part of the 
eighth judicial circuit. 

Sec. 10. The school funds, if any, in the hands of the school commission- 
ers of Vermilion county belonging to the several towns or parts of towns 
embraced within the limits of said county of Ford, shall be by said commis- 
sioners paid over to the school commissioner of said county of Ford, so soon 
as he shall have given bond and been qualified on demand- made. 

Sec. 11. The county court of said county of Ford shall at some term of 
said court, by an order to be entered upon their records, appoint some compe- 
tent i^erson a commissioner for the purpose hereinafter expressed, who shall 
take an oath of office before some officer of said county authorized by law to 
administer oaths, said court shall at the same time provide a sufficient number 
of well bound blank books, and deliver the same to said commissioner, who 
shall receipt the same to the clerk of said court, and as soon as the same shall 
be delivered to said commissioners he shall record in each book a copy of the 

order of appointment and oath of office, and shall thereupon proceed to trans- 
cribe into such books all deeds, mortgages and title papers of every descrip- 
tion, with the acknowledgments and certificates in relation thereto, of lands 
lying in the said county of Ford, which have been recorded, or may hereafter 
be recorded, before the organization of said county, in the recorder's office of 
said county of Vermilion. Such commissioner shall be allowed by said county 
court such sums as his services shall be worth, to be paid out of the county 
treasury. Said commissioner shall note at the end of each paper he shall 
transcribe, the book and page from which the same was transcribed, and shall 
make a correct double index of said records, and on the completion of his 
duties, said commissioner shall return said books to the clerk of the circuit 
court of the said county of Ford, whereupon they shall be taken and considered 
to all intents and purposes as books of records of deeds, mortgages and title 
papers for said county of Ford, and copies of said records certified by the offi- 
cer having custody of the same shall be evidenced in all courts and places in 
the same manner that deeds and title papers regularly recorded in the record- 
er's office, an evidence and with the same effect. 

Sec. 12. Of the swamp lands lying within the present limits of Vermilion 
county and of the proceeds of sales of said lands heretofore made, and which 
may hereafter be made before the organization of said county of Ford, after 
deducting all expenses paid by, and for which the said county of Vermilion 
may be liable. The said county of Ford shall receive and be entitled to a 
share in proportion to the number of congressional townships and parts of 


townships lying within the boundaries of said county of Ford, and the share 
of said county of Yennilion to said hinds and proceeds of sales thereof as 
aforesaid, shall be in proportion to the number of congressional townships and 
parts of townships remaining within the limits of said county of Vermilion 
after said county of Ford shall have been organized. 

Sec. 13. The secretary of state shall forthwith furnish to the clerk of 
the county court of Vermilion county a certified copy of this act. 

Sec. 14. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its 

William R. INIorrison, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives. 
John Wood, 

Speaker of the Senate. 
Approved February 17, 1859, 

William H. Bissell. 

United States of America, 
State of Illinois. 


Office of Secretary. 

I, Henry D. Dement, secretary of state of the state of Illinois, do hereby 
certify that the foregoing is a true copy of an act to create the county of 
Ford and for other purposes now on file in this office. 

In witness whereof, I hereto set my hand and affix the great seal of state 
(L. S.) at the city of Springfield, this 11th day of June, A. D. 1883. 

Henry D. Dement, 

Secretary of State. 

Agreeably to tlie fourth section of the foregoing act, an election w^as held 
on the first Monday in June, 1859, in the new county of Ford, for county offi- 
cers. At the same time, in accordance with the sixth section, the location of 
the county seat was determined by the selection of Paxton, the name of the 
town at that time being Prospect City. 

The following is a list of the county officers, from the first election, until 
the present time : 


An act for establishing county courts, approved February 12, 1849, and 
in force at the time of the organization of Ford county, provided for the elec- 


tioii of a county .I'ncl^'e. Also, that at the same time, "there shall be elected 
two justices of the peac(\ wliose jurisdiction shall be coextensive with the 
county, and Avho shall hold llicir officers for four years." They were to give 
bond, and have the same powers as township justices and "moreover, sit with 
the county judge, as meml)ers of the court for the transaction of the county 
business, and none other, and while sitting as members of the court shall have 
an c({ual vote with the comity judge on all (piestions and matters legally and 
properly before said ccmrt. The said judge wnth said two justices shall in 
all cases whatever, have, exercise and possess all the power, jurisdiction and 
authority heretofore conferred on the county commissioners court." To dis- 
tinguish these county justices from those of the several townships they were 
termed associate justices. In probate and certain other matters, the county 
judge acted alone. 

It is our purpose to give a list of the members of this court followed by 
a list of the township supervisors, dating from the adoption of township organ- 
ization by this county. These supervisors, when met for county business, 
compose what is termed the board of supervisors, which takes the place of the 
county court, consisting of the county judge and associate justices. 

The records of Vermilion county show^ that that portion which now com- 
prises Ford county was organized as a township February 16, 1856, from IMid- 
dlefork township and named Prairie City township. Its name was changed 
to "Patton" September 15, 1857, on account of there being another Praire 
City township in the state. 

Drummer Grove township was organized from Patton, September 14, 1858, 
and included the present townships of Drummer, Dix, Peach Orchard and Sul- 
livant. Stockton township was organized from Patton, March 15, 1859, and 
included the present townships of Lyman, Brenton, Pella, Mona and Rogers. 
Therefore, at the time of the organization of Ford countv, it consisted of three 
townships, viz. : Patton, Drummer Grove and Stockton, the former at that 
time including the present townships of Patton, Button and Wall. The first 
court after the election in June, 1859, for the transaction of county business, 
was held by David Patton, county judge; William Swinford and Andrew J. 
Bartlett, associate justices. 

April 3, 1860, Edmund F. Havens was elected associate justice in place 
of Andrew J. Bartlett, removed from the county. 

November 6, 1860, township organization was adopted by the following 
vote: For, two hundred and sixty-five; against, seventy-six. 




1861 — James P. Button, Patton township; Andrew Jordan, Drummer's 
Grove; and George B. Winter, Stockton. 

1862 — Jame.s P. Button, Patton; Andrew Jordan, Drummer's Grove; Mark 
Parsons, Stockton. 

1863 — William Noel, Patton; William Snider, Drummer's Grove; ]\Iark 
Parsons, Stockton. 

September 14, 1863 — The township of Grant was organized Avliich com- 
prised the present townships of IMona and Rogers. 

March 7, 1864 — The name of Grant was changed to Rogers, and Stockton 
at this time, comprising the present townships of Lyman, Brenton and Bella, 
was changed to Brenton. 

1864 — William Noel, Patton; William Snider, Drummer's Grove; IMark 
Parsons, Brenton ; J. W. Rogers, Rogers. 

September 12, 1864 — Name of Drummer's Grove township changed to Dix. 

December 13, 1864 — E. M. Blackford took his seat as supervisor in place 
of William Snider, elected sheriff. 

At this meeting the present township of Button was organized. 

1865 — James P. Button, Button ; William Noel, Patton ; J. W. Rogers, 
Rogers ; George B. Winter, Brenton ; J. E. Davis, Dix. 

August 31, 1865 — John J. Simons appointed county clerk, pro tempore, 
vice Nathan Simons, deceased. 

December 4, 1865 — William Walker took his seat as supervisor in place 
of James P. Button, elected county treasurer. 

1867— J. P. Middlecotf, Patton; J. II. Kendall, Dix; J. IT. Flagg, But- 
ton; D. B. Case, Rogers; S. E. Burt, Brenton. 

June 12, 1867 — The present township of Wall was organized 

September 9, 1867 — Tlu; present township of Lyman was organized. 

September 10, 1867 — Tlie present township of Sullivant Avas organized. 

1867— W. TI. H. Wood, Patton; J. II. Flagg, Buttcm ; M. L. Sullivant, Sul- 
livant; Samuel Woodward, Lyman; J. E. Davis, Dix; Edward Clayton, Rog- 
ers; William Liggett, Wall; L. T. Bishop, Brenton. 

September 15, 1868 — The present township of Peach Orchard was 

March 1, 1869 — The present townsliip of Drununer was organized and 
called Drummer's Grove. 


1869— M. L. Sullivant, Sullivant; J. H. Flagg, Button; L. T. Bishop, Bren- 
toii ; D. B. Case, Rogers; Caleb McKeever, Drummer's Grove; R. S. Chamber- 
lin, Dix; A. M. Haling, Lyman; John Kelley, Patton; William Noel, Wall; 
James Dixon, Peach Orchard. 

]\Iarch 2, 1870 — The present township of Pella was organized and called 

Also present township of ]\Iona organized and called Delhi. 

The name of Drummer's Grove township was changed to that of Drummer. 

1870— David Keighin, Delhi ; J. D. Kilgore, Wall ; C. E. Henderson, Pat- 
ton; B. H. McClure, Drummer; R. S. Chamberlin, Dix; P. S. Gose, Lyman; 
L. T. Bishop, Brenton; J. H. Flagg, Button; D. B. Case, Rogers; W. B. 
Holmes, Peach Orchard ; J. S. Ruff, Clyde ; M. L. Sullivant, Sullivant. 

June 16, 1870 — Name of Delhi township changed to Mona, and name of 
Clyde township changed to Pella. 

1871 — W. L. Conrow, Brenton; P. S. Gose, Lyman; D. B. Case, Rogers; 
David Keighin, IMona; R. S. Chamberlin, Dix; B. H. McClure, Drummer; 
William Noel, Wall; C. E. Henderson, Patton; J. H. Flagg, Button; M. L. 
Sullivant, Sullivant ; J. S. Ruff, Pella ; T. D. Thompson, Peach Orchard. 

December 12, 1871 — M. M. Pulver took his seat as supervisor in place of 
W. L. Conrow, appointed county superintendent of schools. 

1872— J. P. Micldlecoff, Patton; William Walker, Button; James Sheldon, 
Pella; David Keighin, IMona; Thomas Winstanley, Rogers; M. L. Sullivant, 
Sullivant; M. M. Pulver, Brenton; 0. D. Sackett, Lyman; Levi Miller, Wall; 
R. S. Chamberlin, Dix ; J. M. Sudduth, Drummer ; Thomas F. Kingsley, Peach 

March 11, 1873 — Albert Keith took his seat as supervisor in place of J. 
P. IMiddlecoff, elected to the general assembly. 

1873 — 0. D. Sackett, Chairman, Lyman; Samuel Clayton, Rogers; David 
Keighin, Mona; Robert Wells, Pella; Hugh P. Beach, Brenton; Thomas F. 
Kingsley, Peach Orchard; John H. Collier, Drummer; Edward Babcock, Wall; 
Benjamin Ferris, Patton; R. N. Gorsuch, Button; M. L. Sullivant, Sullivant; 
J. I. Robinson, Dix. 

December 16, 1873— W. T. Morrison took his seat in place of R. N. Gor- 
such, elected county superintendent of schools. N. M. Ward took his seat in 
place of H. P. Beach, elected county judge. 

1874 — J. I. Robinson, chairman, Dix; Samuel Clayton, Rogers; Monroe 
Bute, Mona; L. T. Bishop, Brenton; H. B. Ferguson, Lyman; Thomas F. 
Kingsley, Peach Orchard; M. L. Sullivant, Sullivant; William Noel, Wall; 


John H. Collier, Drummer; John M. Hall. Patton; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button; 
James Sheldon, Pella. 

John Keesey was elected assistant supervisor for Patton township, it being 
the opinion that this townshij) had the population entitling it to two 

March 9, 1875— J. JM. Thompson took his seat, in place of T. F. Kingsley, 

1875 — John H. Collier, Chairman, Drummer; John Richardson, Dix; J. 
C. Kirkpatrick, Button; William Kenward. Wall; J. A. IMontelius, Brenton; 
James Sheldon, Pella; A. V. Bureham, Lyman; J. M. Hall and J. T. Miller, 
Patton; Samuel Clayton, Rogers; Monroe Bute, Mona; W. B. Holmes, Peach 
Orchard; M. L. Sullivant, Sullivant. 

1876 — John H. Collier, chairman. Drummer; Joseph Burger, Brenton; 
Alonzo Burr, Sullivant; John ]\I. Hall and John W. Swanson, Patton; John 
S. Hewins, Button; W. B. Holmes, Peach Orchard; AVilliam Kenward, Wall; 
James Ogilvie, Rogers ; John Richardson, Dix ; James Sheldon, Pella ; Joseph 
Hurst, Lyman ; ]\Ionroe Bute, Mona. 

March 13, 1877 — Samuel J. LeFevre took his seat as supervisor, in place 
of J. H. Collier, elected to the general assembly. James Sheldon was elected 

1877 — J. P. Middlecoff, chairman, Patton ; Joseph Burger, Brenton ; C. 'M. 
Blowers, Pella; W. B. Flora, Lyman; W. B. Holmes, Peach Orchard; J. C. 
Kirkpatrick, Button ; David Keighin, Mona ; J. F. Kenney, Wall ; S. J. LeFevre, 
Drummer; James Ogilvie, Rogers; John Richardson, Dix; ]M. L. Sullivant, Sul- 
livant; J. W. Swanson, Patton. 

1878 — J. P. Middlecoff, chairman, Patton; Joseph Burger, Brenton; C. ]\I. 
Blowers, Pella; W. A. Bicket, Sullivant; W. B. Flora, Lyman; J. A. Froyd, 
Patton; John S. Hunt, Peach Orchard; David Keighin, Mona; J. F. Kenney, 
Wall; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button; S. J. LeFevre, Drummer; James Ogilvie, 
Rogers; S. W. Wade, Dix. 

1879 — S. J. LeFevre, chairman. Drummer ; Edward Babcock, Wall ; Joseph 
Burger, Brenton; C. M. Blowers, Pella; W. A. Bicket, Sullivant; J. Y. Camp- 
bell, Patton ; J. A. Froyd, Patton ; Joseph Hurst, Lyman ; John S. Hunt, Peach 
Orchard ; David Keighin, Mona ; James Ogilvie, Rogers ; W. T. Patton, Button ; 
John Richardson, Dix. 

July 14, 1879 — The board decided that under the census of 1870, as pro- 
vided by law, Patton township was entitled to but one supervisor. Accord- 
ingly Mr. Froyd withdrew. 



1880 — S. J. LeFevre, chairman, Drnmmer; W. A. Bickct, Sullivant; J. Y. 
Campbell, Patton ; Joseph Hurst, Lyman; J. F. Kenney, Wall; Hugh McCor- 
mick, Button; J. IMathis, Peach Orchard; J. S. IMcElhiney, Brenton ; James 
Ogilvie, Rogers; John Richardson, Dix; John A. Scott, IMona ; T. J. Sowers, 

1881— W. A. Bicket, chairman, Sullivant; C. M. Blowers, Pella; Joseph 
Burger, Brenton; Abraham Croft, Patton; Joseph Hurst, Lyman; John lehl, 
Peach Orchard; H. McCormick, Button; John Richardson, Dix; John A. Scott, 
Mona; J. H. Snelling, "Wall; W. B. Sargeant. Rogers; C. H. Yeomans. 

1882 — Joseph Burger, chairman, Brenton; W. A. Bicket, Sullivant; A. C. 
Bullington, Dix; L. Burns, Lyman; Abraham Croft, Patton; George Eastwood, 
Pella; John lehl, Peach Orchard; William Kenney, Wall; Hugh McCormick, 
Button ; W. B. Sargeant, Rogers ; John A. Scott, Mona ; Charles H. Yeomans, 

March, 1883 — Thomas Correll took his seat, in place of George Eastwood, 
removed from the county. 

1883 — Charles H. Yeomans, chairman. Drummer; W. A. Bicket, Sulli- 
vant; A. C. Bullington, Dix; Joseph Burger, Brenton; L. Burns, Lyman; N. B. 
Day, Patton ; John lehl. Peach Orchard ; William Kenney, Wall ; Thomas 
]\IcDermott, Pella; Hugh McCormick, Button; W. B. Sargeant, Rogers; John 
A. Scott, Mona. 

1884— W. A. Bicket, Sullivant; A. C. Bullington, Dix; Joseph Burger, 
Brenton; N. B. Day, Patton; John lehl. Peach Orchard; James C. Kirkpatrick, 
Button ; William Kenne.y, Wall ; Byron Lisk, Lyman ; Thomas McDermott, 
Pella; W. B. Sargeant, Rogers; John A. Scott, Mona; W. H. Simms, Drummer. 

1885 — W. B. Sargeant, Rogers; P. J. Gerhart, JMona; Thomas McDermott, 
Pella ; Joseph Burger, Brenton ; W. B. Flora, Lyman ; William Kenney, Wall ; 
W. S. Larkin, Peach Orchard ; W. A. Bicket, Sullivant ; W. H. Simms, Drum- 
mer; J. H. Leonard, Dix; N. B. Day, Patton; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button. 

1886 — W. B. Sargeant, Rogers; Henry Benson, INIona; Thomas McDermott, 
Pella; Joseph Burger, Brenton; Byron Lisk, Lyman; William Kenney, Wall; 
John lehl, Peach Orchard; W. A. Bicket, Sullivant; F. C. IMcDowell, Drum- 
mer; S. W. Wade, Dix; N. B. Day, Patton; W. T. IMorrison, Button. 

1887 — W. B. Sargeant, Rogers; Henry Benson, IMona ; Thomas McDermott, 
Pella; Joseph Burger, Brenton; Byron Lisk, Lyman; William Kenney, Wall; 
John lehl. Peach Orchard; W. A. Bicket, Sullivant; F. C. IMcDowell, Drum- 
mer ; A. T. Gullett, Dix ; N. B. Day, Patton ; W. T. Morrison, Button. 


1888 — W. B. Sargeant. Rogers; Henry Benson. ]\Iona ; Thomas IMeDermott, 
Bella ; Joseph Burger, Brenton ; E. 0. Newman, Lyman ; William Kenney, 
Wall; John lehl, Peach Orchard; W. A. Bieket, Sullivant; F. C. McDowell, 
Drummer; INI. W. Peterson, Dix; J. W. Ramsay, Patton; W. T. IMorrison, 

1889 — P. Whalen, Rogers; John A. Scott, Mona; Thomas LIcDermott, 
Pella; Joseph Burger, Brenton; W. B. Flora, Lyman; J. F. Kenney, Wall; 
John lehl, Peach Orchard; W. A. Picket, Sullivant; John F. White, Drummer; 
J. H. Leonard, Dix; J. W. Ramsay, Patton; W. T. Morrison, Button. 

1890 — Samuel Clayton, Rogers; John A. Scott, Mona; Thomas IMcDermott, 
Pella; Joseph Burger, Brenton; W. B. Flora, Lyman; J. F. Kenney, Wall; 
John lehl. Peach Orchard; W. A. Picket, Sullivant; Charles S. Crary, Drum- 
mer; J. E. Hagin, Dix; J. W. Ramsay, Patton; W. T. Morrison, Button. 

1891— W. F. Hoyt, Rogers; John A. Scott, Mona; Thomas McDermott, 
Pella; Joseph Burger, Brenton; W. B. Flora, Lyman; J. F. Kenney, Wall; 
John lehl. Peach Orchard; W, A. Picket, Sullivant; Charles S. Crary, Drum- 
mer; J. E. Hagin, Dix; J. W. Ramsay, Patton; W. T. Morrison, Button. 

1892 — Samuel Clayton, Rogers; Winfried Scott, Mona; Thomas McDer- 
mott, Pella ; Joseph Burger, Brenton ; W. B. Flora, Lyman ; J. F. Kenney, 
Wall; John lehl. Peach Orchard; W. A. Picket, Sullivant; Tim Ross, Drum- 
mer; P. J. Yeager, Dix; J. W. Ramsay, Patton; W. T. Morrison, Button. 

1893 — Samuel Clayton, Rogers; Winfried Scott, Mona, Thomas McDer- 
mott, Pella; John Rohrback, Brenton; W. B. Flora, Lyman- J. F. Kenney, 
AVall; Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; W. A. Picket, Sullivant; Tim Ross, 
Drummer; P. J. Yeager, Dix; A. J. Laurence, Patton; W. T. IMorrison, 

1894 — Samuel Clayton, Rogers; Winfried Scott, Mona; T. J. Sowers, Pella; 
John Rohrback, Brenton ; W. B. Flora, Lyman ; James H. Andrews, Wall ; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard ; W. A. Picket, Sullivant ; Tim Ross, Drum- 
mer ; Thomas Crowe, Dix ; A. J. Laurence, Patton ; W. T. Morrison, Button. 

1895 — Samuel Clayton, Rogers; Winfried Scott; Mona; T. J. Sowers, 
Pella ; John A. Montelius, Brenton ; J. P. Smith, Lyman ; James H. Andrews, 
Wall; Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; W. A. Picket, Sullivant; Tim Ross, 
Dnmnner; Thomas Crowe, Dix; A. L. Laurence, Patton; J. C. Kirkpatrick, 

1896 — Sanuicl Clayton, Rogers; Wijifriod Scott, Mona; T. J. Sowers, Pella; 
John A. Montelius, Brenton ; J. P. Smith, Lyman ; James H. Andrews, Wall ; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; Swen Anderson, Sullivant; Tim Ross, Dnun- 


raer; Thomas Crowe, Dix ; A. L. Laurence, Pattoii ; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button. 

1897— William Iloyt, Rogers; Winfried Scott, Mona; T. J. Sowers, Pell a ; 
John A. Montelius, Brenton ; J. P. Smith, Lyman ; James IT. Andrews, Wall ; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; Swen Anderson, Snllivant; Tim Ross, Drum- 
mer; Thomas Crowe, Dix; A. L. Laurence, Patton ; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button. 

1898 — James Ogilvie, Rogers ; Winfried Scott, Mona ; T. D. Hevener, Pella ; 

John A. IMontelius, Brenton ; J. P. Smith, Lyman ; James II. Andrews, Wall ; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard ; Swen Anderson, Snllivant ; Tim Ross, Drum- 
mer, Thomas Crowe, Dix; A. J. Laurence, Patton; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button. 

1899— James Ogilvie, Rogers ; Winfried Scott, ]\Iona ; T. D. Hevener, Pella ; 
John C. Culbertson, Brenton; J. P. Smith, Lyman; William E. Kenney, Wall; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; 0. A. Lundelof, Snllivant; Tim Ross, Drum- 
mer, Thomas Crowe, Dix ; A. J. Laurence, Patton ; J. C. Kirkpatrick, Button. 

1900 — James Ogilvie, Rogers; Winfried Scott, IMona; T. D. Hevener, 
Pella ; John C. Culbertson, Brenton ; J. P. Smith, Lyman ; J. W. Gilkerson, 
Wall ; Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard ; O. A. Lundelof, Snllivant ; Tim Ross, 
Drummer ; Thomas Crowe, Dix ; A. J. Laurence, Patton ; J. C. Kirkpatrick, 

1901 — James Ogilvie, Rogers ; Winfried Scott, Mona ; T. D. Hevener, Pella ; 
John C. Culbertson, Brenton ; J. P. Smith, Lyman ; J. W. Gilkerson, Wall ; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; 0. A. Lundelof, Snllivant; Tim Ross, Drum- 
mer, Thomas Crowe, Dix ; A. J. Laurence, Patton ; R. C. Parks, Button. 

1902 — Henry Raab, Rogers; Thomas Kewly, ]\Iona; J. P. Glass, Pella; 
John C. Culbertson, Brenton; J. P. Smith, Lyman; J. W. Gilkerson, Wall; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; O. A. Lundelof, Snllivant; Horace C. 
IMcClure, Drummer; W. A. Cameron, Dix; A. J. Laurence, Patton, R. C. Parks, 

1903 — Henry Raab, Rogers; Thomas Kewly, Mona; J. P. Glass, Pella; 
John C. Culbertson, Brenton; J. P. Smith, Lyman; J. W. Gilkerson, Wall; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard ; George Stockdale, Snllivant ; Horace McClure, 
Drummer ; W. A. Cameron, Dix ; Albert Froyd, Patton ; R. C. Parks, Button. 

1904 — Henry Raab, Rogers ; Thomas Kewly, Mona ; J. P. Glass, Pella ; John 
C. Culbertson, Brenton; J. P. Smith, Lyman; J. W. Gilkerson, Wall; Owen K. 
Boshen, Peach Orchard; George Stockdale, Snllivant; Horace McClure, Drum- 
mer; W. A. Cameron, Dix; Albert Froyd, Patton; R. C. Parks, Button. 

1905 — Henry Raab, Rogers ; Thomas Kewly, IMona ; J. P. Glass, Pella ; John 
C. Culbertson, Brenton ; R. B. Chambers, Lyman ; J. W. Gilkerson, Wall ; Owen 
K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; George Stockdale, Snllivant; Horace McClure, 


Driiininer; W. A. Ciuneron. Dix; Albert Froyd. Patton, R. C. Parks. Button. 

1906— Henry Raab. Rogers; Thomas Kewly, Moim; J. P. Glass, Pella; 
John C. Culbertson. Brenton ; R. B. Chambers, Lyman; J. W. Gilkerson. AVall; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; (leorge Stockdale, Sullivant; W. E. Proctor, 
Drummer; W. A. Cameron, Dix; Albert Froyd. Patton; R. C. Parks, Button. 

1907— Henry Raab, Rogers; Thomas Kewly, IMona ; J. P. Glass, Pella; 
John C. Culbertson, Brenton; R. B. Chambers, Lyman; J. AV. Gilkerson, Wall; 
Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; George Stockdale, Sullivant; W. E. Proctor, 
Drummer; W. A. Cameron, Dix; Albert Froyd, Patton; Sherman Frederick, 

1908— AV. li. Gilborne, Rogers; Thomas Kewly, lyLma ; A\^ T. Atwood, 
Pella; John C. Culbertson. Brenton; R. B. Chambers, Lyman; J. AV. Gilkerson, 
AVall; Owen K. Boshen, Peach Orchard; George Stockdale, Sullivant; AV. E. 
Proctor, Drummer; AV. A. Cameron, Dix; Albert Froyd, Patton; Sherman 
Frederick, Button. 


At Gibson City, in "the soldiers' circle" of the cemetery, a one hundred- 
pound Parrot gun and an eight-inch mortar from Fortress Monroe are mounted 
beside a pyramid of eight-inch shells and dedicated May 30, 1898, to the sol- 
diers of the Civil war. The work w'as carried out under the auspices of the 
local G. A. R. post at a cost of about one hundred and twenty dollars. 

At Paxton, in Glen cemetery, erected under the auspices of the G. A. R. 
and AV. R. C, a marble shaft, twenty-two feet high, surmounted by the figure 
of a private st)ldier, was dedicated IMay 30, 1901, "To the memory of the 
unknoAvn sokliers" of the Civil wjir. Cost al)out fifteen Inuidred dollars. 

At Piper City, in tlic pu1)lie ])ark, there is a cannon and p\raniid of balls 
dedicated by the local G. A. R. post to the memory of the soldiers of the Civil 


Even at the start. Paxton had her troubles in the way of obtaining for 
herself the capital of the county. Her success canic^ fi'om her environments 
and the tigliting (jiialities oF hev citizens. Tlie (|uesti()ii ol* tlic county seat 



I— I 











sluinbei-cd, iiu'rely, for years. Gibson City was ambitious and ever east a eov- 
etous eye toward the capital. The culmination of her aspirations came in 
1905, when certain of her citizens made an offer of money (in notes) and a 
new conrthouse, as an inducement for the removal of the county seat to that 
place. The courthouse was to be built on "lot 8," not in the corporation. 
A vote was taken, after a warm and bitter contest, November 14, and Paxton 
won. Tbe vote is given, in tabulated forms, below: 

Paxton Block 8 Total 

Rogers 115 26 141 

Mona 123 19 142 

Pella 100 17 117 

Brenton 246 74 320 

Lyman 165 116 281 

Wall 145 21 166 

Peach Orchard 32 217 249 

Sullivant 64 184 248 

Drummer 12 804 816 

Dix 106 218 324 

Button 201 4 205 

Patton No. 1 487 487 

Patton No. 2 478 6 474 

Patton No. 3 123 2 123 

Totals 2,397 1,708 4,105 


So far as the principal county offices are concerned, the general arrange- 
ment and method of handling the public business is very much the same as in 
all of the states; but the offices are called by different names, and in minor 
details — such as transferring from one office to another certain minor lines of 
work — there are a number of points in which the method of county government 
in the various states differs. The names of the principal county offices are 
adopted, which are most common in the northern states, as in the southern and 
New England states there are scarcely any two states in which the names or 
titles of all the county offices are identical. 



Generally the principal auditing officer of the county is known as the 
"county auditor" or ** county clerk." In Illinois, Kansas, jMissouri, Wiscon- 
sin and many other states the office is called "county clerk." In Indiana, 
Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and others it is termed ' ' county auditor. ' ' 
In a few of the states under certain conditions tliis office is merged with some 
other county office. A notable example of this is in the state of Michigan, 
where they have one official, under the simple title of "clerk," who looks after 
about all the work which in most of the states devolves upon both the county 
clerk and also clerk of court. In all of the states a bond in a moderate sum 
is required of the county clerk or auditor, and he is paid a salary of from one 
thousand five hundred dollars to three thousand five hundred dollars per year, 
besides in some states being allowed certain fees, unless it is in a very large 
and heavilj' populated county, where the salary paid is of necessity much 
higher than this amount. No county treasurer or member of the county board 
is eligible to this office. In general terms it may be stated as a rule the audi- 
tor acts as a clerk or secretary of the official county board, although in a few 
of the states the court clerk is required to look after this matter. The clerk 
of the county board keeps an accurate record of the board's proceedings and 
carefully preserves all documents, records, books, maps and papers which may 
be brought before the board, or which the law provides shall be deposited in 
his office. In the auditing office an accurate account is kept with the county 
treasurer. Generally they file the duplicates of the receipts given by the 
county treasurer, charging him with all money paid into the treasury and giv- 
ing credit for all warrants paid. The general plan of paying claims against 
a county is as follows: If the claim is one in which the amount due is fixed 
by law, or is authorized to be fixed by some other person or tribunal, the audi- 
tor issues a warrant or order which will be paid by the treasurer, the certificate 
upon which it is allowed being duly filed. In all other cases the claim must 
be allowed b.N' th(3 county board, and the chairman or presiding officer issues 
a warrant or order wliicli is attested by the clerk. A complete record of all 
these county warrants or orders is kept, and the accounts of the county treas- 
urer must balance therewith. The above in general terms outline the most 
important branch of work' which the county clerk or county auditor looks after 
in most of the states, l)ut in all the states the law riviuires him to look after a 
number of other matters, although in these there is no uiiifoi'inity between the 
various states, and no general (l('S('ri])tion of tliese mitioi- or additional duties 
could be given that would apply to all the states. 



This is an office wliicli exists in all the states, and it is one of the most 
important of the various offices necessary in carrying on the business of the 
"onnty. It is an elective office in all of the states, and the term of office is 
usually either two or four years, ])ut a very common provision in the various 
states is that after serving for one term as county treasurer a party shall Ix' 
ineligible to the office until the intervention of at least one term after the 
expiration of the term for which he was elected. This provision, however, 
does not exist in all of the states, as in some of them the county treasurer is 
eligible for re-election for any number of terms. 

The general duties of the county treasurers throughout the various states 
is very similar. The county treasurer is the principal custodian of the funds 
belonging to the county. It is his duty to receive and safely keep the revenues 
and other public moneys of the county, and all funds authorized to be paid to 
him, and disburse the same pursuant to law. He is required to keep proper 
books of account, in which he must keep a regular, just and true account of 
all moneys, revenues and funds received by him, stating particularly the time, 
when, of whom and on what fund or account each particular sum was received; 
and also of all moneys, revenues and funds paid out by him according to law, 
stating particularly the time, when, to whom and on what fund payment is 
made from. The books of the county treasurer must always be subject to 
inspection of the county board, which, at stated intervals, examines his books 
and makes settlements with him. In some of the states the provisions of the 
law relating to county treasurer are very strict ; some of them provide for a 
county board of auditors, who are expected, several times a year, to examine 
the funds, accounts and vouchers of the treasury without previous notice to 
the treasurer, and in some it is provided that this board, or the county board, 
shall designate a bank (or banks) in which the treasurer is required to keep 
the county funds deposited — the banks being required to pay interest on daily 
or monthly balances and give bond to indemnify the county against loss. ' As 
a general rule the county treasurer is only authorized to pay out county funds 
on warrants or orders issued by the chairman of the county l^oard and attested 
by the clerk, or in certain cases on warrants or orders of the county auditing 
office. A complete record of these warrants or orders is kept, and the treas- 
urer's accounts must balance therewith. In most of the states the law is very 
ex])licit in directing how the books and accoiuits of the county treasurer shall 
be kept. 


COUNTY recordf:r or register of deeds. 

In a few of the states the office of county recorder or register of deeds 
is merged with some other county office in counties where the population falls 
below a certain amount. A notable example of this is found in both the states 
of Illinois and IMissouri (and there are others) where it is merged with the 
office of circuit clerk in many counties. The title of the joint office is "circuit 
clerk and recorder," and the duties of both offices are looked after by one 

The duties of the county recorder or register of deeds are very similar 
in the various states, although in some of the eastern and soutliern states tlie 
office is called by other names. The usual name, however, is county recorder 
or register of deeds. In Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, IMissouri, Ohio and many 
other states, it is called "county recorder." In Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, 
North Dakota, Wisconsin and many more it is called "register of deeds." In 
all of the states this office is the repository wherein are kept all records relat- 
ing to deeds, mortgages, transfers and contracts affecting lands within the 
county. It is the duty of the recorder or register, as soon as practical after 
the filing of any instrument in writing in his office entitled to be recorded, to 
record the same at length, in the order of the time of its reception, in liooks 
provided by the county for that purpose; and it is his duty to endorse on all 
instruments a certificate of the time when the same was filed. All of the states 
have some of the following provisions concerning the duties of the recorder, 
but these provisions are not common to all of the states, viz : The register or 
recorder is not allowed to record an instrument of any kind unless it is duly 
executed according to law ; he is not obliged to record any instrument unless 
his fees are paid in advance; as a rule, it is luilawful for him to record any 
map, plat or subdivision of land situated within any incorporated city, town or 
village until it is approved by the proper officers of the same. In many states 
he is forbidden to enter a deed on the records until it has been endorsed "taxes 
paid" by the proper official; he is required to exhibit, free of charge, all rec- 
ords, and allow copies to l)e made; he is authorized to adniiiiislei- oaths and 
take acknowledgments. 


In nearly all of the states, each county elects a "clerk of court or courts," 
sometimes also known as cii'cnit clei'k or disli'ict clci'lc, iiKlicjit ing the coui't 


with which tlie office is connected. In some of the states, as has already been 
stated, th(^ office of clerk of court is merged with some other county office. 
This is the case in Illinois and IMissonri, where in many counties it is connected 
with the office of county recorder. In IMichiyan, one official under the name 
of "clerlv" handles the business which usually is given to the clerk of court 
and county clerk or auditor. In Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and other states 
the name used is "circuit clerlv"; in Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and 
many others the office is called "clerk of district court"; while in many of the 
states, including Indiana, Ohio, Iowa and others, it is simply called "clerk" or 
"clerk of the court or courts." 

The chief duty of this official is to act as clerk of the district or circuit 
court, and sometimes other courts of inferior jurisdiction. It is the clerk's 
duty to keep the seals and attend the sessions of their respective courts, pre- 
serve all the files and papers thereof, make, keep and preserve complete records 
of all the proceedings and determinations thereof, and carry out such other 
duties as nuiy be required by the rules and orders of their respective courts. 
They must enter of record all judgments, decrees and orders of the court as 
soon as possible after they are renderd; keep all indictments on file as a public 
record, have authority to administer oaths, take acknowledgements ; take and 
certify depositions, and are required to exhibit all records free of charge. In 
nearly all the states tlie law defines the character of the record books which 
the clerk of court nuist keep. Although there is no settled rule in this mat- 
ter, the general provisions are that he shall i<eei) : First, a general docket 
or register of actions, in which is entered the title of each action in the order 
in which they are conunenced, and a description of each paper filed in the 
cause and all proceedings therein; second, a plaintiff's index and defendant's 
index; third, a judgment book and execution docket in which he enters the 
judgment in each action, time of issuing execution, satisfaction, etc., and such 
other books as the courts or tlie laws may prescribe. 


In all of the states the office of sheriff is one of the most important of the 
countj^ offices. The term of office varies in different states, being usually 
either two or four years, and in several of the states one party cannot hold the 
office a second term consecutively. The general provisions (mtlining the duties 
pertaining to this office are very nuich alike in the various states, and the fol- 
lowing resume of his duties may be said to apply to all of the various states 


except ill a few minor and unimportant details. The sheriff is charged with 
the duty of keeping and preserving peace in his county ; or, as has been written, 
"He is the conservator of peace," and it is his duty to keep the same, sup- 
press riots, affrays, tighting, ])reaches of tlie peace and prevent crime, and may 
arrest offenders "on view" and cause them to be brought before the proper 
magistrate ; and to do this, or to execute any writ, warrant, process, order or 
decree, he may call to his aid when necessary any person or the "power of the 
county." It is the duty of the sheriff to serve and execute within his county, 
and return, all writs, warrants, process, orders and decrees of every descrip- 
tion that may be legally directed and delivered to him. He is a court officer, 
and it is his tbit,v to attend, either in person or by deputy, all courts of record 
held in this county ; by virtue of his office he has custody of the jail. It is 
his duty to pursue and apprehend felons and persons charged with crime and 
has custody of prisoners. He is not allowed to purchase any property exposed 
for sale by him as sheriff. 


This is an office Avhich exists under one name or another in nearly every 
state in the Union. The title of the office in a great majority of the states 
is "county superintendent," but in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, New York, and 
possibly one or two other states, the office is termed "school commissioner," and 
in several of the states the laws provide for a board of county examiners or 
school commissioners, who are given considerable of the work in most of 
the other states is handled by the county superintendent. 

The name of this office implies the duties which devolve upon it. and ihey 
are very much alike in all of the states. The incumbent of this office is 
charged with a general supervision over the schools of the county, and must 
])(' a fitting person as to education and moral character. As a rule it is his 
duty to examine the license teachers, but in a few of the states provision is 
made for a board of examiners. County superintendents are required to visit 
iiiid inspect the schools at regular intervals, and give such advice and instruc- 
tion to teachers as may he deemed necessary and proper. They are required 
lo orgiinize and conduct institut-ions for the instruction of teachers if deemed 
necessary, and encourage teachers' associations. They introduce to the notice 
of teachers and the people the best modes of instruction, llie most approved 
])laiis of l)uilding and ventilating school houses, etc., stimulate school officers 
to the prompt and proper discharge of their duties. They receive reports 


from the various school officers, and transmit an abstract of these reports to 
the state superintendent, adding a report of the condition of the schools under 
their charge. In nearl}^ all the states the^^ are forbidden having any interest 
in the sale of any school furniture, apparatus or books used in the schools. 
In many states they have authority to annul a teacher's certificate for proper 
cause, and in general to take such steps and enforce such methods as will ele- 
vate and make more efficient the schools under their control. 


There is a great difference between the various states in the method of 
handling or attending to the legal business relating to county matters or grow- 
ing from county affairs. In many of the states the official who attends to 
this line of work is known as the "count}^ attorney," in other states he is called 
the states attorney or prosecuting or district attorney. In a few of the states 
they divide the state into districts embracing a number of counties, and a dis- 
trict attorney is elected in each district, who in some cases attends to all the 
legal work of the various counties, and in others he assists the county attorneys 
in their most important duties and prosecutions. But whatever plan may be 
followed in the various states, and whatever title may be given to this office, 
the general duties of the office are very nuich the same throughout all the 
states. It is the duty of the county attorney to commence and prosecute all 
actions, suits, indictments, and prosecutions, civil and criminal, in any court 
of record in his county in which the "people of the state or county" may be 
concerned; to prosecute all forfeited bonds and recognizances, and all actions 
for the recovery of debts, revenues, moneys, fines, etc., accruing to his county ; 
to commence and prosecute all actions and proceedings brought by any county 
officer in his official capacity; to defend all actions and proceedings brought 
against his county, or against any county officer in his official capacity ; to give 
legal opinions and advice to the county board or other county officers in rela- 
tion to their official duties; to attend, if possible, all preliminary examinations 
of criminals. When requested he is recpired to attend sessions of the grand 
jury, examine witnesses in their presence, give legal advice and see that proper 
subpoenas and processes are issued; draw up indictments and prosecute the 
same. The county attorney is required, when requested by the attorney gen- 
eral, to appear for the state in cases in his county in which the state is inter- 
ested. The county attorney makes an annual report to his superior state officer 
of all the criminal cases prosecuted by him: 



The method of handling' probate matters is not uniform throno-hout the 
vari(ms states. In many states the hiy-her eonrts are oiven jurisdiction over 
proliate matters, and in others they have created districts in wliich are hek] 
probate courts, whose jurisdiction extends over several counties and tak(\s in 
othtn- matters besides purely probate affairs. In a majority of the states, how- 
ever, particularly the western and northern states, they elect a county or a 
probate judge, who holds court and handles the probate matters which arise 
within his county. The jurisdiction of these county or probate courts is not 
alwaj's confined exclusively to probate matters, and they generally include such 
matters as apprenticeship affairs, adoptions, minors, etc. In some of the 
states they have both a county judge and a probate judge, and in these cases 
the jurisdiction of the latter is confined to such matters as are in line with 
probate matters. In Missouri they have a prol)ate judge, and also a count}' 
court, comi)osed of county judges, in whom the corporate powers of the county 
are vested — as the official county board. In IMichigan they have a probate 
judge and a probate register. The probate judge is generally given original 
jurisdiction in all matters <ff probate, settlement of estates of deceased per- 
sons, appointment of guardians and conservators and settlement of their 
accounts. They take proof of wills, direct the administration of estates, grant 
and revoke letters testamentary and of administration, appoint and remove 
guardians, etc. 


This is an office which is common to nearly all of the states. It is the 
duty of the county surveyor to execute any survey wdiich may be ordered by 
any court, or upon application of any individual or corporation, and preserve 
a record of the surveys made by him. Nearly all of the states provide that 
certain records shall be kept l)y the county surveyor and provide penalties for 
his failure to place on record the surveys made ])y him. While he is the offi- 
cial surveyor, yet the surveys made by him are not conclusive, but may be 
reviewed by any competent tribunal, and llu! correctness thereof may be 



This is another county office which exists in nearly all of the states. In 
the average county there is not much work for the coroner, hut in the counties 
in which large cities are located the office is a very important one. In general 
terms it may be stated that the coroner is re([uired to hold in(iuests of per- 
sons supi)osed to have met with violent or unnatural deaths. In most states 
he has power to empanel a jury to enquire into the cause of death; but in 
some of them this is not the case, and he is given power to act alone. He can 
subpoena witnesses; administer oaths; in certain cases provide for a decent 
burial, and can bind over to the proper court any person implicated in the 
killing of the deceased. 


The county offices that have already been mentioned are the principal ones 
found in all of the states. There are, however, a few other county officials 
besides those mentioned which exist in many of the states, and which should 
be briefly mentioned in this connection. These are such offices as county phy- 
sician, county assessor, county collector, county poor commissioner or superin- 
tendent of the county poorhouse, master in chancery or court commissioner, 
county examiners, board of equalization, board of review, etc. The names of 
these offices imply the duties. These offices do not exist in all of the states, 
but in nearly every state the law provides for one or more of these county 


The powers of every county as a body politic and corporate are vested 
in a county board. This official county board is generally termed the county 
"board of supervisors" or "board of commissioners," but there are some 
exceptions to this, like Missouri, where the county board is known as the 
"county court." There is considerable difference in the makeup of the county 
board in the various states. In some it is made up of one member from each 
township in the county. In others the counties are divided into districts, and 
one member of the county board is chosen from each district. No general 
description of this could be given that would be accurate, as some of the states 
follow both of these plans. For instance, in Illinois some of the counties are 


governed by a board of supervisors, which is made up of one member from 
eaoli township, while other counties in tlie same state are governed by a board 
of county commissioners, consisting of three or more members, each represent- 
ing districts into which the counties in question are divided. 

The general powers of the county board throughout all the states, is about 
the same, except in minor details. It represents the legislative and corporate 
powers of the county. One of their number is a'lways chosen as chairman 
or president, and acts as the presiding officer. The county board has general 
charge over the affairs of the county. It is their duty to provide county 
offices, provide desks, stationery, books, fuel, etc, ; examine, investigate and 
adjust claims against the county and have general care and custody of all the 
real and personal estate owned by the county. At regular intervals they set- 
tle with the county treasurer; examine accounts and vouchers. They locate 
county roads ; determine the amount of county tax, and regularly publish a 
statement of their proceedings; make statements of receipts, expenditures, etc.; 
and make all contracts, and do all other acts in relation to the property and 
concerns of the county necessary to exercise its corporate powers that are not 
especially delegated to any other county officials. 


The method of township government throughout the different states varies 
so nnich that it is impossible to treat of it more than in a general way. In 
many of the states the townships are not organized as bodies corporate, and 
in other states in some counties they may have township organization, while in 
other counties in the same state it does not exist. In cases where there is no 
township organization the law provides that certain county officers shall attend 
to the local work, or that work which in other localities is assumed by the town- 
ship officials. But even where they have township organization the plan of 
township government in the different states where it exists differs so widely that 
scarcely any two states may be said to be alike. About the only statements 
concerning the organized townships that coidd be made which would apply to 
nil fhe states are the following: Every organized township in its corporate 
capacity has power to sue and be sued ; to acquire by purchase, gift or devise, 
and hold property, both real and personal, for the use of its inhabitants, and 
again to sell and convey. the same; and to make all such contracts as may be 
necessary in the exercise of its powers as a township. 


In a great many of the states the townsliip ofovernment is carried on after 
a plan very similar to the county and state governments, having various execu- 
tive officers and a township board in which the corporate and legislative pow- 
ers 'of the township are vested. In other states they follow a plan whicli 
reserves to the people all corporate and legislative powers, and therefore have 
no need for a township ))oard. hut have various township officers to carry out 
the wishes and orders of the voters. Where this plan prevails they hold what 
it generally termed "town meetings," at which every legal voter of the town- 
ship has a voice. At these meetings reports are had from the various town- 
ship officials, and the necessary measures are adopted and directions given for 
carrjdng on the township business. 

Still other states combine good features from both of the plans above 
mentioned, and besides the other usual toA^T^iship officials they maintain a town- 
ship board, which is given certain restricted powers, such as those of a review 
or an auditing board, but they are not vested with the complete corporate and 
legislative powers of the township, this being reserved in a large measure to 
the voters, and a'll questions calling for the exercise of such authority are acted 
upon at the town meetings. In many of the states the township board just 
described is made up of three or more of the other township officers, who are 
ex officio members of the township board, and they meet at certain times, jxn-- 
forni the work required of them, and report to the town meetings. 

• The principal officials in township organizations in nearly all the states 
are the following: "Supervisors, or trustees," "clerk," "treasurer," "asses- 
sor." "collector," "justices of the peace," "constables," "overseers," "super- 
visors or commissioners of highways," and "pound-masters," although as has 
been stated, many of the states do not have all of these officials. 

The following is a list of the several townships composing the county of 
Ford, with the date of their organization, as a part of Ford county. 

When the county was organized in June, 1859, it was divided into three 
townships: Patton, Stockton and Drummer Grove, and out of these three have 
been created the following: 

Rogers organized September 1-1. 186:3 

Brenton organized IMarcli 17, 1864 

Button organized December 13, 1864 

Dix organized September 12, 1864 

Wall organized April 2, 1867 

Sullivant organized September 10, 1867 

Lyman organized September 10, 1867 


Peach Orchard org-anized September 15, 1868 

Pelhi orofanized I\Iareh 2, 1870 

Mona organized ]\Iarch 2. 1870 

Patton organized February 16, 1856 

Drummer organized September 14, 1858 


The city of Paxton is hiid out in sections 7, 8. 17 and 18. in range 10 east, 
in the township of Patton. INIost of it lies in sections 7 and 8. Nearly all of 
the blocks, lots and streets are laid out parallel with the Illinois Central Rail- 
road, or on an angle of about fifteen degrees. The original town consisting of 
thirty-five blocks, lying on both sides of the railroad, was laid off in the spring of 
1857, by A. D. Southworth, deputy county surveyor of Vermilion county. The 
land was owned by AY. H. Pells, R. R. ]Murdo<'k, Leander Britt, Benjamin 
Stites and D. Donally. The next addition to tlie town was the railroad 
addition, laid out north of the original town, in the spring of 1858, for Joseph 
E. Austin. A. H. Reynolds, Hiram C. Todd, L. Britt. R. R. IMurdock and W. II. 
Pells. This addition consisted of fourteen whole blocks and twenty-one 
fractional blocks. 

In 1867, W. II. Pells laid out Pells' addition west of the Illinois Central 
Railroad, consisting of twelve fractional blocks, ad.joining the original town on 
the west, and the same year James ]\Iix laid out forty-three blocks lying n(U'th 
and west of the railroad addition. 

The next addition to Paxton was Pells' addition east of the Illinois Central 
Railroad, laid out in 1870, for William II. Pells, by II. J. Howe, connty surveyor. 
This addition joins the original town on the east, and contains nineteen blocks. 
A small addition was laid off by Surveyor Howe, in the fall of 1870 for J. E. 
Hall and George Schlosser, consisting of one block, of fourteen lots, known as 
Hall's addition. 

In 1875, R. R. Murdock laid off twenty-nine lots, in the northeast ])art of the 
town known as Murdock's additioii. In IMarch, 1877, S. J. Ton' and A. C. 
Thompson, owners of lots 5 and 6 in Goodrich's subdivision caused a resurvey 
to be made, paying them off into four blocks of thirty-five lots, known as Toy & 
Thompson's addition. 




Pnxton has not always been the name of this town. When orio-inally hiid 
ont, it was called Prospect City, and before tliat time it was known as Prairie 
City, wliich was also the name of the township before being changed to Patton. 
It continued to be called Prospect City until September, 1859, when a petition 
was presented to the county court, asking it to change the name of Prospect 
City to Paxton. The petition was granted, "and the place heretofore known 
as Prospect Citv shall hereafter be known l)v the name of Paxton." 

It is authoritatively reported that Sir Richard Paxton, of England, was 
organizing a colony in that country to settle in Illinois, and it was thought 
that by naming this town Paxton, in honor of him, it might have some influence 
in inducing him to settle here. 

This gentleman has a name in history as being the architect of the first 
crystal palace in London. 

The change of name did not have the desired effect, but as the authorities 
saw no good reason for changing the name in consequence of this failure the 
name is still Paxton, and down in history. 


William Goodrich, John P. and Samuel L. Day, Charles and Fred Cloyes, 
John Buell, Thomas Buell, James Buck, J. F. Hall, Charles Oakley, S. M. Brown, 
Benjamin Stites, B. F. Stites, R. R. Murdock, L. Britt, W. H. Pells, James Cloyes, 
A. Martin, J. T. Bullard, I. W. Shilling, J. Covalt, N. Simons, O. B. Taft, John 
and Martin Ross, Dr. P. Myers, Henry Barnhouse, Alexander II. Ilanley, John 
Hanley, Wheeler Bentley, Samuel L. Blain, Dr. John Mills, Dr. S. H. Birney, Dr. 
Way, Dr. Spencer, Dr. Camp, L. II. Tabor, William and Stacey Daniels, Thomas 
Lyon, A. McElroy, J. T. Nicholson, John J. Heckler, W. B. Swisher, Thomas 
Swisher, Paul Cooley, Dryden Donally, John S. JMurdock, Ed Seymour, William 
Seville, A. B. Morey, Daniel Elms, George Forbes, Squire L. Edgar, Arthur 
Campbell, William and Henry Schenk, Benjamin Smith, Howard Case, Thomas 
Daniel, Henry R. Daggett, John Ryan, Elihu Swisher, Thomas F. Townsley, 
Edward L. Gill and W. H. Bruyn. 


The first house in Paxton was the house owned by William Goodrich, which 
was originally built on the west side of the railroad, about one hundred yards 


soiitli dl' Ottawa street, and occupied as a boardiiiji-house for men who were 
constrnetinsr the railroad. 

In the s])riny of 185-1, this house was moved up to Ottawa street and oecu- 
ju'ed by Mr. Goodrich as a dwelling'. He afterward kept a store in the same 
building. This house was burned a])out 1877. Previous to this, however, a 
building had been erected by B. F. and J. N. Stites. on the present site of the 
Glen cemetery, this, properly speaking, was not in the limits of Prospect City as 
afterward laid out. In the fall of 1854, John ]\Iurphy built the later Stites' 
residence, and about the same time Stites Brothers put up a store building right 
opposite. Prospect City could not really be said to have any boom luitil 1857, 
the buildings erected previous to this date being those already mentioned, and 
I. W. Shilling's boarding-house adjacent to the Stites' residence on the east, 
afterward removed; the residence of Thomas Daniels within the same inclosure 
as the boarding-house, was used by Stites Brothers for a wagon-house. Directly 
opposite the Daniels' house stood the small octagon building which stood just 
across the road from the old cemetery. This building was occupied as a meet- 
ing place for the Spiritual Circle, their moving spirit being a certain Dr. 
Spencer. In 1856, the Stites Brothers sold out their store to Dryden Donally, 
who erected a residence between the store building and the one already men- 
tioned as occupied by the Spiritualists. About this time Stacey Daniels built a 
house on the site that was occupied by Captain Shepardson's handsome residence. 

In 1857 a small hotel was built on the southwest corner of block 13, original 
town, east of the railroad, and called the City Hotel. This building was after- 
ward moved up near the depot, on the northeast corner of block 4, enlarged and 
christened the Bennett House. This hotel was destroyed by fire. Closely 
following those already mentioned came the store of Henry Barnhouse, Patton's 
block, and Abe IMartin's store building on the east side of the railroad; and on 
the west side was Cloyes Brothers' store, on lot 1, block 12, now Lundberg's 
drug store; R. Clark's house on block 4, and the nucleus of the old Occidental 
Hotel. Our space will not warrant us to enter into a more general detail. 
Suffice to say, that stores, residences and offices rapidly multiplied from that 
time forward. 

The first voting place was at Goodrich's residence, and afterward at the 
City Hotel. 

First term of cii-< nit court was held at the City Hotel, afterward at Ilanley's 
Hall, in a building adjoining the Palton bloek on the west. 

At an early date the postoffice was kept by Henry Barnhouse, at his store, 
nearly o])i)osite the residence of B. Q. Cherry, just west of Paxton on the 


Ottawa road, and our best information is that upon his removal to Paxton, Mr. 
Barnhonse brought the postoffice with him. The name of the postoffiee was 
Ten ]\Iile Grove, and when he opened the office here it was changed to Prospect 
City. It is thought by some that before the latter name was adopted it was 
called Prairie City. The office was next kept in the store of Cloyes Brothers. 

The first child born in this city was ^lilton B. Swisher, in 1857, in the house 
that was occupied l)y the Stites family. 

The first death was the wife of Stacey Daniels. She was buried in the old 
cemetery south of town. 

The first marriage license issued in Ford county was by Nathan Simons, the 
clerk, to Charles W. Searing and Miss Sarah Bowles. They were married July 
3, 1859, by Rev. A. C. Edwards. 

J. D. Wilson started a harness shop in 1865, in a building that was just 
north of the Occidental Hotel. A Mr. Seeley opened the first shop here. 

INIessrs. Case & Williains started the first livery stable which stood on block 
12, opposite where Putt's livery stable afterward stood. 

Edward L. Gill opened the first butcher shop. 

The first druggist here was J. McCormick, who had his store where Dahl- 
gren's grocery store stood. 

Henry Daggett had a tinshop which stood on the corner of block -4, where 
Clark's block now stands. 

John J. Heckler Avas a shoemaker and had his shop in a back room of 
Sej^mour's house. 

Edward Seymour opened the first blacksmith shop just west of the store of 
Henry Barnhouse. 

William Daniels was the first carpenter, and Stacey Daniels the first mason 
in the town. 

In 1858, forty-two houses were standing in Prospect City, and during a 
heavy wind storm, twenty-two of them w^ere blown off their foundation and had 
to be repaired. 

James Buck built the first elevator, which stood where White Brothers 
lumberyard stood. 

Papineau & IMartin had the first wagon shop ; it stood on block 30, near 
where Mr. Hefner's house stood. 


The census of Ford county for 1860 reveals the fact that Paxton at that 
time had only two hundred and seventy-five inhabitants. As yet the little vil- 


lage had no corporate existence. l)ut in tlie spring of 1861. as the records show, 
"tlie citizens of Paxton convened, pnrsuant to notice, in Patton's Hall, for the 
pnrpose of electing five trustees for said town." At this election, which was 
held April 15, 1861, John P. Day, James G. Cloyes, L. II. Tabor, L. B. Farrar 
and Henry Barnhouse were elected trustees of the village. 

At the first meeting of this board, John P. Day was elected president ; R. 
S. Buckland, clerk ; and Frederick Cloyes, treasurer. At a meeting held May 
1, Samuel L. Blain was appointed street supervisor; Howard Case, assessor; 
John B. Buell, collector. 

]\Iay 8 was enacted the first ordinance ever adopted by the board, and it 
was in relation to "Nuisances." This was followed at the same meeting by 
one on " ]\Iisdemeanors. " 

November 21 a resolution was passed authorizing the tax collector "to take 
all money that is at par." This was before the days of greenbacks and nat- 
ional bank bills, and the various kinds of paper money then in circulation were 
not all worth their face. 

April 24, 1863, the first license for a lirjuor saloon was granted, under reg- 
ulations and restrictions already prescribed by ordinance, the license fee being 
fixed at one hundred dollars per year, payable in advance. 

October 9, 1865, the sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars was voted 
to Francis Price, a civil engineer of Vermilion county, "to aid him in j)ublish- 
ing a map of the town of Paxton," he to furnish the board twenty-five sheet 
maps arid two mounted maps. 

August 4, 1866, the first prohibitory licpior ordinance was passed. At 
this time there were saloons in the town operating under license previously 
obtained, and the board ordered that these be permitted to run until the expir- 
ati(ui of the time for which their licenses were granted. From the time when 
this action was taken until the succeeding election, the saloon (|uestion attracted 
much attention and discussion, and became so prominent as an issue that the 
voters at the next election were given an opportunity to decide by ballot for 
or against granting saloon licenses. 

At the first city election held September 5, 1872, -John Bodley was elected 
mayor; James S. Wilson, clerk; Ij. B. Farrar, attorney; W. Hoag, treasurer; 
and William Harper, George Wright, Samnel L. Day, N. Dahlgren, G. J. Sliep- 
ardson and B. F. INIason, aldermen. 

November 4 a saloon license was granted to A. And(>rson, being the fii-st 
issued under citv organization. 


At a meeting held December 16 was laid the foundation for the expendi- 
ture of several thousand dollars, that unfortunately proved a worthless invest- 
ment. Mayor Bodley informed the council that he was in receipt of a letter 
from a party in Chicago proposing to bore an artesian well in the city of Pax- 
ton if the people so desired. This announcement brought out an enthusiastic 
discussion, that was indulged in by spectators as well as aldermen. The min- 
utes of this meeting record the fact that "Mr. Dunlap, of Champaign, was 
present, and made some interesting remarks." His remarks were adverse to 
the project, advising the board that it was a hazardous venture, basing his opin- 
ion on the fact that Paxton was located on ground so high that flowing artesian 
water could not be obtained, and cited numerous instances of failure in neigh- 
boring counties where the ground was much lower. At the meeting January 
6. 1873, a petition was read praying the council to appropriate eight thousand 
five hundred dollars "for the purpose of boring or sinking an artesian well." 
This petition was signed by two hundred and ten legal voters, which was a large 
majority of the voting population, there being at that time less than three hun- 
dred voters in the city. The prayer of this petition was granted, and an ordi- 
nance passed providing for the issue of bonds for that amount and for that 

January 20, 1873, the artesian well cpiestion came up again, the finance 
committee reporting several proposals for sinking such a well, the highest bid 
being eight thousand dollars in cash, and the lowest seven thousand dollars in 
cash, or seven thousand four hundred dollars in bonds, at ninety-five cents on 
the dollar, all being for boring to the depth of sixteen hundred feet. The 
liid of seven thousand four hundred dollars on bonds at ninety-five cents was 
accepted, and a contract ordered to be drawn up ready for signatures at the 
next meeting. 

February 4 was passed an ordinance providing for the issue of bonds 
known as funded debt bonds, to the amount of fifteen hundred dollars. These 
bonds were in sums of five hundred dollars each, bearing interest at ten per 
cent from March 1, 1874, and the remainder (five hundred dollars) falling due 
]\Iarch 1, 1875. These bonds were sold by the finance committee at a discount 
of five per cent, and the proceeds applied to the redemption of the greater por- 
tion of the outstanding city orders. Of the bonds thus issued the first two 
(one thousand dollars) were paid June 1, 1874, ninety days after maturity, 
and the remaining bond for five hundred dollars was paid April 12, 1875, 
forty-two days after maturity. 


March 3 an ordinance was passed locating the well on lot 14. block 14, sonth 
side of State street, between IMarket and Taft streets. 

October 20 a petition, signed by two hundred legal voters, was submitted, 
praying the council to appropriate an additional sum of seven thousand dol- 
lars in bonds for the purpose of continuing the work on the artesian well 
beyond the depth of sixteen hundred feet. This was granted by a unanimous 
vote, and an ordinance was passed embodying the action prayed for in the peti- 
tion, and on the 19tli of November the contract was let to Spangler, ]\Iars & 
Company, and ratified January 5, the contractors to accept city bonds at ninety- 
five cents on the dollar. 

June 21 two thousand five hundred dollars of bonds were issued to con- 
tinue the work on the well. When the previous appropriation of seven thou- 
sand dollars was made, it was estimated that this amount would carry the well 
to a depth of two thousand five hundred feet, but now it was found to have 
been insufficient. 

July 6, the board adopted a resolution suspending the work on the well 
"until such time as the boring may be resvimed, " and a settlement was then 
made with the contractors. The well was down to the depth of two thousand 
four hundred and seventy-three and a half feet. In just two days after the 
passage of this resolution, a petition signed by one hundred and sixty-one legal 
voters was submitted to the council, praying that work on the well be resumed 
on conditions therein named, one of which was that a part of the expense be 
paid by private subscriptions. This proposition was laid over until an 
adjourned meeting held the next night, when it was voted to sink the well two 
hundred feet deeper, for which the remaining one thousand dollars of bonds 
not yet expended was pledged (being a part of the previous two thousand five 
hundred dollars appropriated) provided the citizens should raise whatever bal- 
ance was necessary to satisfy the contractors. This was done, and the addi- 
tional two hundred feet completed, making a total depth of two thousand six 
hundred and seventy-three and a half feet, and still no flowing water obtained. 
The project was then abandoned and has never been resumed. 

At the annual election held April 17, 1883, George J. Shepardson war, 
elected mayor; George A. Hall, clerk; J. R. Patrick, attorney; Chai-les II. 
Langford, treasurer; John M. Hall, police magistrate; John White, alderman 
for the first ward; A. S. Hopkins for the second, and George Gove for the 
third. At a meeting of the council, April 24, an ordinance was passed consol- 
idating the offices of city marshal and street superintendent, and on the 3()tli 
of this month George N. ^Miller was appointed under this ordinance to fulfill 


the duties of both offices. At the same meeting-, an ordinaiK e was passed pro- 
viding for the appointment of a city pliysic-ian to advise and consult with the 
board of health, and on ]\Iay 8 Dr. Elmer L. Kelso was appointed to that office. 
The work on the artesian well was begun ^larch, 1873. The fii-st sixteen 
hundred feet was completed in November, 1874, and the final depth of two 
thousand six hundred and seventy-three and a half feet was reached in August, 
1875, nearly two years and a half from the time of commencement. The work, 
however, was not actively progressing during all this time, as there were several 
intervals of rest resulting from various causes. In payment of this work, city 
bonds to the amount of eighteen thousand dollars were issued, in sinus of five 
hundred dollars each, all bearing ten per cent interest. On these bonds the 
city had already paid fourteen thousand sixty-six dollars and fourteen cents 
of interest, and there remained to be paid in yearly installments, up to 1896 
inclusive, interest to the amount of nine thousand one hundred and sixty dol- 
lars, making the sum of twenty-three thousand two hundred and twenly-six 
dollars and fourteen cents of interest from 1873 to 1896. To this amount add 
eighteen thousand dollars of principal, and nine hundred and forty-five dollars 
and twenty-two cents of sundry incidental expenses, and the result is a grand 
total of forty-two thousand one hundred and seventy-one dollars and thirty- 
six cents, representing what the experiment would have cost when the last item 
of the debt was paid thirteen years afterward. At the date of the final aban- 
donment of the well, there were outstanding bonds to the full amount of the 
appropriations, eighteen thousand dollars, of which eight thousand five hundred 
dollars were known as IMareh bonds, and the remaining nine thousand five hun- 
dred dollars as July bonds, indicating the months in which the principal and 
interest fell due. The principal of the March bonds began to mature March 
1. 1879, and a portion of them each year thereafter up to 1883. In July, 
1878, as already stated, the council provided for refunding the ]\Iarch bonds 
into July bonds, at a lower rate of interest and to run longer. The whole 
amount, however, was not refunded at that time, l)ut oidy the amount falling 
due IMarch 1, 1879, which was fifteen hundred dollars. This fifteen hundred 
dollars due March 1, 1880, and the fifteen hundred dollars due March 1, 1881, 
were not refunded. ])nt were paid by general taxation. The remaining March 
bonds, four thousand dollars were afterward refunded as they became due. 
The first three bonds, fifteen hundred dollars were exchanged for bonds drawing 
8 per cent interest, and the remaining four thousand dollars for 6 per cent 
bonds. The first of the refunding bonds began to fall due July 1, 1893, which 
was one year beyond the date when the last of the original July bonds would fall 


due. All the March bonds having been refunded, all the obligations then out- 
standing were July bonds, the first of wliich matured July 1, 1884, at which 
time one thousand dollars of them would be due and payable, and a tax was 
levied to meet it. After that date, bonds to the amount of one thousand dollars 
matured each year until 1892, when fifteen hundred dollars became due, being 
the last of the ten per cent bonds. In July, 1893, the eight per cent bonds 
again matured in similar amounts, and lastly the six per cent bonds, a portion 
payable each year, until the last one matured, July 1, 1896. Of the March 
bonds a portion (three thousand dollars) had been paid as already noted, 
which left fifteen thousand dollars now outstanding, of which amount the origi- 
nal July bonds (nine thousand five hundred) bore ten per cent interest, while of 
the refunding bonds (fifteen hundred dollars) were at eight per cent and four 
thousand dollars at six per cent, and hence the interest paid in 188-4 was one 
thousand three hundred and ten dollars, but the annual interest thereafter, for 
several years, decreased one hundred dollars each succeeding year; if the bonds 
were paid, one thousand dollars yearly, as they became due, from 1884 to 1896. 


The city of Paxton has a splendid waterworks system, built and put into 
operation in 1887, bonds being issued at that time to the amount of approximate- 
ly eight thousand dollars. ]\Iains have been extended all over the city and the 
patronage is very satisfactory. The fire protection afforded is a guarantee to 
the citizens of reasonable safety, and lessens insurance rates to a marked degree. 

Three deep wells, furnishing an abundant supply of pure soft water, have 
been drilled, and three electric motors are used, as the occasion demands, to fill 
a reservoir that has a capacity of one hundred and ninety thousand gallons, and 
a tower, with tank of sixty thousand capacity. 

From year to year as the city has grown, mains have been laid and today, 
no city of its size in Illinois has a better waterworks system than Paxton. 


Paxton is proud of her paved streets and in lliat connection, it may be said, 
she has more paving tlian any city of like proportion in llie whole state of 
Illinois. The people of Pa.xlon liavc a lively sense of the beautiful. They love 
comfort and the niodeni ( onvciiicnccs of lire They\' the blessing of good 
health, and stop at no expense to attain these things. IIcik-c, no difficulty was 


met when the proposition was broached in the spring of 1903, that certain 
streets of the city shoulcl be paved. July 6 of that year, an ordinance was 
passed for the paving, with brick, of Center and Washington streets. The work 
was accomplished and the sum of twenty-seven thousand dollars was issiuul in 
bonds for the payment of the same. In 1904, an ordinance was passed for the 
paving of State and West streets. To pay for this, eighty-four hundred dollars 
in l)()nds were issued. Pells street came next, July 3, 1905, and bonds for 
fifteen thonsnnd tliree hundred dollars readily found a market and, April 2, 
1906, an ordinance was passed for the paving of IMarket, Orleans and Patton 
streets, the cost of which came to twenty-nine thousand seven hundred dollars, 
making in the aggregate, since 1903, the outlay of eighty thousand four hundred 
dollars for street paving. 

It may be said in passing, that tlie work has been well done and the added 
convenience and beauty to the city, not forgetting the sanitary aspect of the 
matter that might be taken, is full compensation for the money expended. 

JMention in this connection should also be made that a system of sewage 
has been placed in the city, costing to date about twenty thousand dollars. 


In 1889 a contract was let to N. P. Neilson, of Paxton, to build a city hall 
which, in the aggregate, cost six thousand dollars. The building was finished 
and dedicated in the spring of 1900. It is of modern architecture, exteriorally ; 
has a large and commodious council chamber, and fireproof vaults for the 
records of the city. Here is also the police department, and the hose wagons 
and other paraphernalia of the fire department. To the rear of the main 
floor is the waterworks station. The arrangement is an excellent one, both for 
convenience and an expense saving contrivance. 


E. B. Pitney is the father of the Carnegie library. It was his idea from 
the beginning, and when he broached the subject in public, he was put down as 
an ultra-enthusiast. It happened, however, that he was not only an enthu- 
siast, but also was in possession of ideas practical. He happened to have a 
personal actiuaintance with Mr. Carnegie's private secretary, and he wrote him, 
in an inquiring way, and at once got a reply, in which he was given the assur- 
ance that Mr. Carnegie would give Paxton ten thousand dollars on condition 


that llu' citizens would guarantee to supply a fund, not less than ten per cent 
of the donation, each year, to maintain the library. 

In February, 1903, the city council passed an ordinance for the levying of 
a two-mill tax (annual) for the maintenance of the Carnegie library. At a 
special meeting Mayor M. H. Cloud appointed as the first board of directors: 
II. C. Hall, J. B. Shaw, C. A. Larson, M. L. McQuiston, E. Given, 0. J. Bai- 
tnim. Fred Danielson, J. F. G. Ilelmer and E. B. Pitney 

The present members of the lioard are as follows : President, O. J. Bai- 
num; secretary, E. B. Pitney; treasurer, J. B. Shaw; ]\I. L. IMcQuiston, C. S. 
Schneider, Fred Danielson, C. A. Larson, John F. G. Helmer, P. A. Kemp. 

October 12, 1903, the corner stone of the beautiful structure was laiil on 
a lot seemingly designed for the purpose, on the corner of Market and Orleans 
streets. Mr. Pitney deposited a copper box therein, closely sealed, containing 
coin, newspapers of the county, a bar docket, and many other things of interest 
that will be looked upon Avith wonder by the generation seeing the last of the 

The dedication took place in the summer of 1904, and the exercises were 
l)otli interesting and instructive. 

The first books were donated by the Methodist Episcopal clnirch. The 
library now has four thousand five hundred volumes. 

Paxton is a city and has recently taken on city airs. She now has a free 
(h'livery of mail, with three carriers. The following have served as post- 
masters since 1884: T. ]\I. King, Mrs. Georgia E. Blackstone, E. N. Stevens, 
S. L. Day, A. E. Sheldon, and D. C. Swanson, the present postmaster. 


Paxton has a volunteer fire department with hook and ladder and wagon 
jiiid hose cart. Chief, Frank Corbett; assistant chief, George Turner; secre- 
tary, (ins Younggreen ; treasurer, Fred Labarn ; and the membership: Wil- 
li;nii Stites, John Prestin, Josei)h Corbett, John Corbett, Oscar Nelson, Gt>orge 

Mayors of Paxton: 1884 — mayor, G. J. She])ards()n, clerk, George A. 
Ihill; 1886 — mayor, G. J. Shepardson, clerk, E. Dufresue; 1888 — mayor, 
J. P. IMiddlecoff, clerk, H. II. Kerr; 1890— mayor, G. J. Shepardson, clerk, 
II. 11. Kerr; 1892— mayor, John H. Moffett, clerk, IT. II. Kerr; 1893— 
mayor, F. E. Boiuiey, clerk, D. C. Swanson ; 1894 — mayor, F. E. Bonney, 
clerk, D. C. Swanson; 1896 — mayor, J. P. MiddleeofiP, clerk, D. C. Swanson; 


1898 — mayor, R. Cruzen, clerk, D. C. Swanson; 1900 — mayor, R. Cruzen. 
clerk, U. C. Swanson; 1902 — mayor, M. II. Cloud, clerk, D. C. Swanson; 
190-4 — mayor, R. Cruzen, clerk, E. C. Bogardus; 1906 — mayor, A. J. Lau- 
rence, clerk, E. M. Grayson; 1908— mayor, C. E. Beach, clerk, E. M. 


General U. S. Grant died elnly 28, 1885. Under the auspices of Paxton 
Post, No. 387, G. A. R., memorial services were held in Paxton, August 8. of the 
same year, in honor of the illustrious soldier and statesman. 


The collegiate institute was Paxton 's special pride. It owed its origin, 
gradual growth and high standing to the liberality and intelligence of the citi- 
zens of Paxton and vicinity. The first move made toward its establishment 
was to discard the public high school, and hold out inducements for the estab- 
lishment of an academy. 

In the autumn of 1878 Rev. C. Thompson Kellogg opened a school in the 
buildings formerly used by the Augustana College. At the beginning of the 
next year, the school was started by Charles M. Taylor, who was principal, and 
continued that year in the same buildings. During the summer of 1880, the 
corner stone of the magnificent brick structure which was occupied by the 
school, was laid. This was due to the enterprise of the principal and liber- 
ality of the community who contributed several hundred dollars toward taking 
out scholarships and tuition certificates to the amount of some four thousand 
dollars. With this aid, improvements were made, and the college was one 
of the finest in eastern Ilinois. The school had incorporated in its foundation, 
principles of economy and thoroughness, and systematically worked toward the 
accomplishment of both. There was, perhaps, not a school in the country 
where expenses were as low, and the standard of scholarship was rivaled at 
very few places. The moral atmosphere was exceptionally good. No person 
was allowed to remain in the institution who did not devote himself to school 
work. While the discipline was in a sense most rigid, it was purely demo- 
cratic. The principal was not regarded a tyrant nor the faculty a set of des- 
pots; neither did the pupils take delight in tormenting, or in getting ahead 
of their teachers. Pupils were received as ladies and gentlemen, and when 


they showed themselves not so, they were dismissed. J'areiits coiieerned in the 
harmonious development of their children's physical, mental and moral condi- 
tion could not have found a better place. 

This institution went out of existence in 1901. 


Paxton was never in a more solid and flourishing condition than at pres- 
ent. Its citizens are prosperous and manifest a great dea'I of interest in the 
prosperity of this town. A number of wealthy and substantial farmers have 
moved here from the adjacent country for the purpose of obtaining for their 
children the benefits of the schools. Paxton is conceded to have no superior 
as a town for the social and neighborly qualities of its citizens. The greatest 
harmony prevails and the interests of all converge to th.e welfare of this little 


The first banking business was conducted by the Ford County and First 
National Banks. The Ford County Bank was the first and pioneer bank of 
the county, and was opened for business in the house owned by A. IMcElroy 
on Market street, on the 1st day of January, 1866, by S. J. Toy, who came from 
Champaign county. In the spring of 1867, he moved into Pells' block. On 
the 1st day of August, 1868, A. C. Thompson, but recently from Pennsylvania, 
joined Mr. Toy in the banking business, putting in an ('((ual amount of capital. 
In the spring of 1869 they broke ground for their new bank building, and in 
the autumn of that year moved into their new quarters, where they continued 
business together for about three years under the firm name of Toy & Thonqi- 
son. November 1, 1871, S. J. Toy, A. C. Thompson, Robert Blackstock, Edwin 
Rice and C. E. Henderson organized the First National Bank of Paxton, Illi- 
nois, with a caj)ital of fifty thousand dollai-s. A. C. Thoini)S()n was made 
president, and S. J. Toy, casliier. Mr. Toy held that position until tlie si)riiig 
of 1874, when he sold out his interest to J. M. Clevengei", and Robert Blackstock 
was made cashier. The l)ank continued business until the 10th of February, 
1876, when they closed o\it by voluntary liciuidatioii. After which, A. C. 
Thompson, Robert Blackstock and W. M. Blackstock organized the Ford County 
Bank of Thompson, Blackstock & Compnay, successors to the First National 
Bank, which continued under their management until the 15th of April, 188:^, 


iit wliicli tiiiie Mr. Blackstock withdrew from the firm, and on the 3d of May 
following, Edwin Rice, a prominent and well known business man of Paxton, 
to(^k a third interest in the bank, which run under the same firm name. These 
gentlemen were well known for their obliging manners and financial responsi- 
bility. The First National Bank was organized in 1883, with S. P. Bushnell, 
president ; J. S. Wilson, vice president, and J. B. Shaw, cashier, and A. S. 
Bushnell, assistant cashier. They commenced business May 7, 1883, with a 
capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, and have established a good reputation. 
In the fall of 1883, Mr. Wilson withdrew from the bank, and John P. Day 
was elected in his place as vice president. This bank is a successor of George 
Wright, who kept a private bank here for many years. This bank is doing 
a successful business, and enjoys the entire confidence of the people. Its pres- 
ent officers are J. B. Shaw, president ; E. A. Gardner, vice president ; William 
H. AVhite, cashier; and II. B. Shaw, assistant cashier. The capital and sur- 
plus of the bank, one hundred thousand dollars. 


The Paxton Bank was organized in 1894 by W. A. Rankin, B. II. Dun- 
ham and W. J. Lateer. It is a private institution. Capital and surplus 
seventy-five thousand dollars. W. A. Rankin, the president, B. H. Dunham, 
vice president, W. J. Lateer, cashier, and 0. J. Egnall, assistant cashier. 


The Paxton Building, Loan and Savings Association was organized Jan- 
uary 29, 1883, with a capital stock of five hundred thousand dollars, divided 
into shares of one hundred dollars each. The object of the association is to 
afford its members a safe and profitable investment for their weekly savings ; 
to facilitate their acquiring homesteads and to secure to them the advantages 
usually expected from savings and cooperative institutions. The duration of 
the corporation is twent>'-five years. The corporate powers are exercised by 
a board of directors. Its offices consist of president, vice president, secretary 
and treasurer. Each stockholder for each and every share of stock held by 
him, pavs to the secretarv everv Saturdav, the Aveeklv contribution of twelve 
and a lialf cents on each share he holds, until each share reaches a value of 
one hundred dollars, wdien such stockholder is entitled to one hundred dollars 
for each share owned by him. No member is entitled to more than fifty shares. 


Any member can withdraw at any time l)y ^ivint^ tlue notice and be entitled 
to receive the amount paid in hy liim. and such interest thereon or proportion 
of profits thereon as the board of directors sliall prescribe, and not less than 
an amount equal to four per ceut interest on the amount of dues paid in for 
the average time. 


The Paxton Brick & Tile Company was organized and incorporated April 
1, 1882, with the following stockholders: Colonel Charles Bogardus, A. ]M. 
Daggett, F. L. Cook, J. P. Middlecotf, of Paxton, and P. Whitmer, of Bloom- 
ington. The factory is located on College Hill, within the corporate limits of 
Paxton, and on the highest point of land between Chicago and Cairo. They 
have a deposit of fine clay reaching to a depth of sixteen feet below the sur- 
face. The quality of this clay is not excelled for the purpose of the man- 
ufacture of brick. 


In 1898, I. N. Cool, whose business as a buggy manufacturer liad outgrown 
his facilities at Logansport, Indiana, came to Paxton, by invitation of its citi- 
zens, and was installed in a large, three-story brick building, the gift of the 
business men and property owners of Paxton. In tliis modern factory build- 
ing, Mr. Cool set up the latest improved machinery, which made the cost of the 
entire plant thirty thousand dollars. 

The capacity of this concern was five thousand vehicles per year, and the 
output found a ready market. But, through the failure of the chief factor 
in the concern, the plant went into liquidation and passed into the hands of 
other parties, who gave it the name of The Paxton Buggy Company. It was 
only a short time when this company went out of business, and the factory 
building reverted to the donors, who have made arrangements to turn it over to 
the present occupants. The E. li. Stafford Furniture Company, when the latter 
shall have complied with certain conditions obligatory on their part to fulfill. 


Through the efforts of J. P. Middlecoff, R. Cruzen and others, a company 
was formed in 1888, and the Paxton Canning Factory was built and started 


operations. This became one of the important industrial institutions of the 
county and today, when the season opens, gives employment to about t^vo 
hundred people. The chief products of the concern are red kidney beans and 
select sugar corn. Some years ago the concern ceased to be a stock company 
and went into the hands of R. Cruzen, his brother, J. E. Cruzen, and W. M. 
Wilson. The plant is a large one, the buildings of brick and the ground space 
covers a block. The equifiment is modern and the product finds a ready market. 


The large building, formerly the home of the Paxton l^uggy Company, was 
installed with the machinery and material of the E. H. Stafford Manufacturing 
Company, of Chicago, in 1907. This concern is one of the largest of its kind 
in the country, and has its main factory at Albion, INIichigan. The products of 
the plant here are various kinds of furniture. About one hundred and fifty 
men are employed. 


The broom factory of Paxton has been in existence for many years, but 
not until recently has it been in cjuarters adequate for the business accomplished. 

In the fall of 1907, S. H. Hill, the proprietor, through the efforts and 
assistance of the Retail Merchants' Association, was enabled to occupy a large 
and commodious new two-story brick building and now, with improved ma- 
chinery, the concern is employing thirty people, and turning out an article that 
finds a ready market. 


Paxton has a harrow manufactory which was established in 1906, by the 
E. ]\I. Kramer Company, which was induced to locate in the city by the Retail 
IMerchants' Association. This concern is occupying space in the Paxton Hard- 
ware Manufactory building, but has good prospects of having suitable cpiarters 
of its own. Thirty people are in the employ of this company. 


The rapid growth of Paxton and the increase of her l)usiness establishments 
made it imperative that larger and better hotel facilities should be provided for 


the traveling commercial man and visitors to the ( ity. Several of the influen- 
tial men of Paxton had long determined that a modern caravansary was none 
too good for the county seat and, in the fall of 1895, a meeting was called by 
J. P. Middlecoff, C. Bogarclus and others, and the Paxton Hotel Company was 
organized. A board of directors M^as chosen of the following personnel: J. P. 
Middlecofle, C. Bogardus, Geo. H. Proctor, J. B. Shaw. W. J. Lateer, F. E. 
Bonney and C. A. Larson. President, J. P. JMiddlecoff; vice president, AV. J. 
Lateer; secretary, F. p]. Bonney; treasurer, J. B. Shaw. 

At the beginning of the next year the l)uilding was under course of con- 
struction. The plans had been drawn by 0. Moratz, of Bloomington, and 
contract let to N. P. Neilson, of Paxton. In the fall of 1896, the magnificent 
structure was completed, at a cost of thirty-six tliousand dollars, including the 

The Middlecoff is modern in structure and its appointments. Is three 
stories in height and has a basement, which is given over to sample rooms for 
commercial travelers. The north and west fronts are of red pressed brick, 
trimmed in stone. The hostelry was opened by George A. Proctor. William 
Elder, formerly of the Paxton House, is the present landlord. 


The Paxton Hotel was formally opened January 21, 1886. About four 
hundred people were present at the banquet given on tlie occasion by Henry 
Weaver, the proprietor. Speeches were made of a congratulat(U\v nature. l)y 
A. C. Thompson of the Ford County Bank ; Judge A. Sample, Dr. R. N. Davies, 
Hon. 0. D. Sackett, B. F. Mason, Hon. J. P. Middlecoff, J. E. Lewis of Fairbury; 
and W. S. Richards of Kankakee. These were supplemented by addresses 
from Mesdames Garrett, Cook, Sample and G. E. Abbott. The liotel at th(^ 
time was considered one of the best in this section of the state and now, after 
being vacant some while, is again catering to the needs of the public. 


On the evening of March 20, 1902, a meeting of importance 1o tlie city oi' 
Paxton, was held in its city hall, and the business men of the place evinced 
their interest in tlie purposes of the gathering by atteiuling. Paxton had, 
apparently, become inert; was not moving and keeping pace with her sister 
cities. The object of the meeting was to stir up the business men of the town 

:middlecoff hotel, paxton 


and awaken them to the fact that a systematic effort should be put forth to 
induce outsiders seekino- a location to come to Paxton. At a subsequent. meeting 
the Retail Merchants' Association was organized and F. E. Bonney was made 
its president, Geo. R. llapp, vice president, F. M. Thompson, secretary. Since 
that time, Paxton has gone forward and has today, through the instrumentality 
of the association, industries that are beneficial to the community, and bid fair 
to being a good investment to the city. The members of the Retail Merchants' 
Association are men of energy, enterprise and of public spirit, and the associa- 
tion in its endeavors, is meeting with general approval and support from the 
public. Present officers : T. J. Vimont, president ; D. G. Bailey, vice president ; 
E. T. Froyd, treasurer and secretary. 


The corner stone of the Masonic block, a large three-story building on the 
corner of Market and State streets, was laid with impressive rites on the evening 
of July 30, 1885. The dedication took place, followed by a banquet to eminent 
Sir Knights, October 21, 1886. 


An association of women, with the title as shown in the caption of this 
article, was formed in Paxton m 1894, and is today the only one of its kind in 
Ford county. Mrs. J. W. Reed and INIrs. William Happ, no longer residents 
of that city, were the promoters of the society, and with them were Mesdames 
S. M. Wylie, 0. H. Wylie, Ernest D. Given, A. Coomes and E. A. Gardner. 
Present officers: Mrs. E. A. Gardner, president; Mrs. D. P. McCracken, vice 
president; Mrs. E. L. Morgan, secretary; IMiss E. F. Meharry, corresponding 
secretary; Mrs. E. Thompson, treasurer; Mrs. A. F. Trams, critic. 

The purposes of organization have been for higher literary culture and 
belle lettres. The association was, until 1896, an independent club, Init in that 
year it was federated with the state organization. There is now a membership 
of twenty-three. 


Mt. Olivet Commandery, No. *38, K. T. 
May 9, 1870, Charles Edward Munger, grand commander, granted a dis- 
pensation for this commandery to the following named Sir Knights: 


Solomon -Jacol) Toy. CliMi'lcs Henry Hawlcx'. .)(»slnKi Eaton Davis, Benjamin 
Franklin ^lason, Allen SlieiHirdson, Julius Wallace Scott, Thomas Evan Barn- 
house, Wilson Hoag. Geoi-uc Jeremiah Shepardson. 

First conclave was held on the 5th day of Au;4\ist. A. L)., 1870, in J. W. 
Scott 's Hall. 

October 21, A. D., 1S70, Solomon Jacob Toy, E. C, conferred the orders 
on Jonathan T'enn IMiddlecoff, Norman Edmund Stevens. Ransom Reed IMurdock. 
Til I've S. Johnson. William Lewis. Finley I\IcClellan Hall. 

Date of charter, October 26, A. D., 1870; constituted, January 25, A. D., 
1871, by Eminent Sir Francis Granger Jaques acting as proxy for the grand 
commander of the Grand Commandery of the State of Illinois. 

Past commanders : Solomon J. Toy, 1870-73 ; Jonathan P. ]\Iiddlecoff, 
1873-75, 77-79; Benjamin F. Mason, 1875-77; George J. Shepardson, 1879-8-1; 
John U. Hanley, 1884-86; Samuel J. LeFevre, 1886-87; Robert S. Hall, 1887-88, 
89-90; John S. Ilewins, 1888-89; Charles H. Yeomans, 1890-91; Allen S. 
Bushnell, 1891-95, 97-98; Edward A. Gardner, 1895-97; Charles H. Laugford, 
1898-99 ;George H. Proctor, 1899-1901; Harry B. Henderson, 1901-02; George W. 
Youn-green. 1902-03; Reuben J. Atwood, 1903-04; Murray E. Hunt, 1904-06 
John D. Schwimnier, 19()(i-0S. 

Present officers: John D. Sclnvinuner, E. C, Askel R. Sheldon, general; 
William Albert Pfeiifer. C. G. ; Abel A. Hanson, S. W. ; Rufus Keator, J. W. ; 
^Murray E. Hunt, prelate; William B. Henderson, treasurer; Reuben J. Atwood, 
i-ecorder; Samuel M. Newlin. St. P>. ; Herman A. Nelson, Sw. B. ; Thomas Galla- 
gher, warder; Gustavus A. Younggreen, sentinel. 

Present membership, one hundred and fifty-six Sir Knights. 

Stated conclaves are held on iho first and third Thursdays of each month 
The annual conclave is tlie (ii'st stated conclave in June. 

During the spring of 1885 the (juestion of building a Masonic tem])le was 
hi'ought before th<' coiiiiiiandei-y. A committee consisting of Sir Knights J. P. 
INIiddlecoff, C. M. Tayloi-. George Grove and J. Y. Cam{)bell were appointed to 
investigate aiul to report as to the cost of a suitable building. At a sul)se(iuent 
conclave they reported i)lans and estimates. It was voted 1o build and the com- 
nn'ttee on estimate Avas constituted a l)uilding committee with powei- to make 
colli r'acts, sell hoiids, pay out iiioiiey, elc. in the name of the conunandery. In 
June, 1885, the ground was hi'oken and the building lU'ogressed as rapidly as 
possible and was finally c()mi)leted at a cost of about lwent\' Ihousaud dollars. 

In 1889 tli<" coiiiiiiandery directed the ti'ustees to sell all of the building 
below the tliii-d stoi'\' resei'\'ing a perpetual right of ingress and egress to said 


third story, which was done. Since tlien about twenty-five hundred dollars has 
been expended in improvements in iho asylum rooms. 

At this date th(^ asylum is owned by the eommandery, the commandery is 
free from indebtedness and has about two thousand dollars in the treasury and 
an income of about four hundred dollars per year from the rent of the asjdum 
rooms to the other JMasonie bodies in Paxton. 


Date of Charter, October 5th, 1864. 

Charter members, L. A. Barber, J. O. Young, Fred Cloyes, James F. Hall, 
Charles ]\r. Oakley, II. A. Kelso, John P. Day. P. W. Cooley, W. H. Patton, 
T. L. Miller, R. R. IMurdock, J. G. Cloyes, S. L. Day, J. Covalt, M. M. Davison, 
J. E. Davis, Wm. Davis. D. R. Richards, Jr., Nathan Simons, and A. J. Lyon. 

First officers, L. A. Barber, W. M. ; J. 0. Young, S. W. ; Fred Cloyes, J. W. 

The original charter and the early records of the lodge were destroyed by 
fire October 4, 1874. 

Names of past masters: L. A. Barber, 1864; J. O. Young, 1865-66; Wilson 
Iloag, 1867-71; Benj. F. Mason, 1872-76, 79-80, 1884; Alfred Sample, 1877-78; 
Robert S. Hall, 1881-83, 1885-86 ; Franc L. Cook, 1887 ; Allen S. Bushnell 1888 ; 
Chas. H. Langford, 1889-90; Edw. A. Gardner, 1891-92, 1894, 1898; Frederick 
E. Bonuey, 1893, 1899 ; Harry B. Henderson, 1895-97, 1901 ; Harry W. Mason, 
1900; Reuben J. Atwood, 1902; I\Iurray E. Hunt, 1903; John P. Irwin, 1904; 
George W. Younggreen, 1905 ; John D. Schwimmer, 1906 ; Robt. B. Coddington, 

Present Officers, 1908: Nels Larson, W. :\I. ; Leonidas J. Ireland, S. W. ; 
William B. Henderson, J. W. ; Nels Younggreen, treasurer ; Reuben J. Atwood, 
secretary; Clifford E. Beach, S. D. ; Edward B. Pitney, J. D. ; Samuel Newlin, 
chaplain; Robert B. Coddington, marshal; Daniel G. Bailey, S. S. ; Gustavus 
A. Younggreen, J. S. ; Frank Corbett, organist ; William W. Reser, tyler. 

]\Iembership on jMay 18, 1908, one hundred and thirteen. 

Stated communications are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each 
month. The first stated communication in June is the annual communication. 

The following is self-explanatory : 


May 22, 1908. 
Dr. R. J. Atwood, 
Paxton, III, 
Dear Brother : — 

The records of the office of the grand secretary having been destroyed 
l)y fire in 1870 I can find nothing whatever about the dispensation, either when 
granted or its officers. The officers of the lodge in 1864 were as follows : 

N. Simons, treasurer; J. F. Hall, secretary; J. J. Simons, S. D. ; T. L. Miller, 
J. D. ; C. I\I. Oakley, S. S. ; J. P. Day, J. S. ; Rev. M. M. Davison, chaplain ; P. 
W. Cooley, tyler. 

With kind regards, your truly, 

Isaac Cutter, 

Grand Secretary. 


On February 28, 1867, the Most Excellent Grand Royal Arch Chapter of 
Illinois issued a dispensation to companions Solomon J. Toy, "William II. 
Bradley, L. T. Hewins, S. M. Newlin, Wilson Hoag, M. E. Wandell, Isaac Cross, 
J. C. Young, and A. Cross empowering said companions to form and open a 
chapter after the manner and form of Royal Arch IMasons to be known as Ford 
Chapter U. D. and to confer the degrees of the chapter. 

The first convocation of Ford Chapter IJ. D. was held in Paxton on April 
3, 1867. G. J. Shepardson, R. C. Christian and E. L. Clark were the first three 
to receive the Royal Arch degree. 

Officers of Ford Chapter U. D., S. J. Toy, M. E. II. P.; Wilson Hoag, king: 
L. T. Ilewins, scribe; G. J. Slici)hardson, C. II.; Samuel i\I. Newlin, P. S. ; R. C. 
Christian, R. A. C. ; Allen Shepardson, G. M. 3d V. ; el. W. Scott, G. M. 2d V. ; 
J. Y. Campbell, G. I\I. 1st V. ; R R Murdock, treasurer; E. L. Clark, secretary; 
T. E. Barnhous(\ sentinel. 

Date (.f cliartcr, Oct()])er 4, 1867. 

Charter members of Fortl Chai)tcr, No. 113, Ro\al Arch Masons: Rohmd 
C. Christian, Eugene B. Ilill, R. R. IMurdock, William Lewis, (!. J. Shei)ardson, 
Thos. E. Barnhouse, John J. Siiiioiis. Wilson Hoag, S. J. Toy, L. T. Hewins, J. 
P. Middlccoff, F. 1). Matchet, J. W. Scott, N. E. Stevens, S. M. Newlin, -1. Y. 
Campbell, Isaac Barker, E. L. Clark. 

The chapter was constituted Octobei- 10, lS(i7, l)y R. E. G. Scribe A. A. 
Murray with the following officers: S. J. Toy, I\l. E. II. P. ; AVilson Hoag, E. king; 


L. T. Hewiiis, E. Scribe; G. J. Shepardson, C. II.; Samuel M. Newlin, P. S. ; R. 
C. Christian, R. A. C. ; J. W. Scott, G. M. 3d V. ; N. E. Stevens, G.M. 2d V. ; E. 
B. Hill, G. M. 1st v.; R. R. Murdock, treasurer; 0. B. Taft, secretary; T. E. 
Barnhouse, sentinel. 

Past high priests of Ford Chapter, No. 113, R. A. M.: S. J. Toy, 1867-72; 
Wilson Hoag, 1873 ; G. J. Shepardson, 1874-76, 78-84 ; Wm. Noel, 1877 ; Benja- 
min F. Mason, 1885-87, 1891-94; Samuel Newlin, 1888-90, 95-96, 1902, 1906-07; 
Frederick E. Bonney, 1897-98; Edward A. Gardner, 1899-li)()0; C. II. Latigford, 
1901 ; Reuben J. Atwood, 1903 ; John D. Schwimmer, 1904-05. 

Present officers, 1908: Murray E. Hunt, E. II. P.; William A. Pfeiffer, 
king; Thomas Gallagher, scribe; Nels Larson, treasurer; Reuben J. Atwood, 
secretary; Frank M. Corlies, chaplain; Samuel M. Newlin, C. H. ; John D. 
Schwimmer, P. S. ; Frederick E. Bonney, R. A. C. ; Harry B. Henderson, M. 3d 
V. ; Abel A. Hanson, M. 2d V. ; Daniel G. Bailey, M. 1st V. ; Ivus L. Atwood. 
steward; Gustavus A. Younggreen, sentinel. 

Membership on May 18, 1908, one hundred and thirteen. 

Stated convocations are held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each 
month. The first stated convocation in June is the annual convocation. 

PAXTON LODGE, NO. 418, I. O. 0. F. 

Paxton Lodge, No. 418, I. 0. O. F., was instituted at Paxton, Illinois, Nov- 
ember 17, 1892, with nine charter members, as follows : 

W. T. Troughton, P. G., N. Younggreen, J. F. Heritage, Arthur Dillon, T. 
W. Talley, R. S. Hall, P. G., F. B. Fagerberg, N. E. Stevens and E. B. Pitney. 

First officers: R. S. Hall, N. G., E. B. Pitney, secretary; W. T. Troughton. 
V. G. 

The present membership consists of 182 members. 

Present officers: John A. Swanson, N. G. ; W. E. Carrington, V. G. ; W. W. 
Reser, secretary. 


R. S. Hall Encampment, No. 172, of I. O. O. F., was instituted at Paxton, 
Illinois, November 15, 1904, by Gustaf J. Johnson, witli thirty- three charter 

First officers : C. A. Brooks, C. P. ; C. F. Graham, II. P. ; C. F. Lund, S. W. ; 
0. W. Linstrom, scribe; Frank Corbett, treasurer. 


The present membership is one hundred and forty mcmljers. 
Present officers: 0. E. Nelson, C. P.; W. G. T. Baker, S. W. ; W. AV. Reser, 
scribe; Alfred Meis, treasurer; W. D. Wimer, II. P.; A. T. Carlson. J. AV. 

PAXTON CAMP, NO. 259, JI. W. A. 

Paxton Camp, No. 259, Modern Woodmen of America, was organized Octo- 
ber 27. 1886. 

First officers: Consul, M. li. Cloud,; worthy adviser, W. TI. Hunter; clerk, 
E. N. Stevens; banker, A. Coomes; escort, J. W. Reed; watchman, AV. Hopkins; 
sentry, C. F. Morgan. 

Managers: S. M. Wylie; A. Dillon. 

Present officers: Consul, O. J. Bainum; worthy adviser, C. 0. Stone; clerk, 
M. Dorsey ; banker, S. A. Hancock ; escort, Orville A. Archer ; watchman, Elmer 
Rodeen ; sentry, George Luxton. 

Managers: C. A. Nordgren ; John Newman; E. ]\I. Grayson. 

Phj'sicians: S. M. Wylie, E. E. Hester, S. S. Fuller, S. A. Lundgren. 

Four hundred and twelve beneficial, and two social members. 


In October, 1894, ]\Iayor C. E. Beach, then a young, inexperienced lawyer, 
who had recently moved to Paxton, finding that there was no lodge of Knights 
of Pythias in the city, and being a member himself, secured a dispensation of 
the grand lodge to secure names for the charter for a lodge at Paxton. A 
sufficient number of names was secured, some thirty odd, and Patton Lodge, 
No. 498, K. P., was organized and instituted on neceiiihci- 12, 1894, by Sanuiel 
L. Ilarnit, of Gibson (!ity, acting district deputy grand chancellor. 

This lodge has had, since its institution, a steady, healthy growth, and it 
ranks now number the flower of the young manhood of Paxton and vicinity. 
Its past chancellors are as follows: C. E. Beach, J. II. Flora, M. E. Hunt, 
F. F. Newlin, W. L. Walton, D. B. Steward, A. AV. Gylander, C. E. Lewis, L. 
A. Crum, R. J. Atwood, J. W. INIcKown, E. I\I. Grayson, A. C. AVascher, Theo- 
dore Anderson, C. S. Schneider, S. AV. Stout, and E. M. Grayson has been 
again elected and is now chancellor e^^mmander of th(^ lodge; P. F. Newlin, 
vice chancellor; II. E. Duffield, keeper of records and s<'nls; V. E. Johnson, 
master of finance; Vennum Lateer, master of exchequer; Adolpli Eager, mas- 


ter at arms; 0. J. Baiiium, prelate; John Risser, inner guard, Edward Eng- 
limd, outer guard. The trustees are D. B. Steward, A. T. Flora and C. S. 
Schneider. Grand representative, D. B. Steward. 

This lodge is now the ])ride of Paxton in tlie mattc^r of civie society. In 
conjunction with the lodge proper, it has a Uniform or Lily Rank Company, 
officered by William Risser, captain; C. S. Schneider, first lieutenant; Ray 
Flora, second lieutenant, and other non-commissioned officers. C. E. Beach of 
this company, is on the staff of Colonel Bertoni, of Bloomington, with the rank 
of first lieutenant. 

The subordinate or lodge proper is noted all over tlie grand domain of 
Illinois as having one of the best rank teams for all three ranks, and is called 
to various towns of central location throughout the domain to confer the ranks, 
where lodges of other towns can congregate and see the work. 

Its members, as such, were important factor'; in the retaining of the county 
seat at Paxton, during the county seat fight in 1906, and are alwa^^s in the van 
of everything progressive. 

Paxton is also honored by the societies of Yeomen of America, Court of 
Honor, Independent Order of Red Men and Royal Neighbors of America. 


The Ford County Chautau(|ua is a permanent institution and the mcH'tings 
thus far held have been eminently successful. 


When this county was a part of Vermilion, it was called Prairie City town- 
ship, whieh was organized from Middlefork township, February 16, 1856. 
This name was changed to Patton, September 15, 1857, on account of there 
being another Prairie City township in the state. In 1858, Drummer Grove 
township was organized, or set off from Patton, and included all of the terri- 
tory in this county lying west of range 9 east, and in March, 1859, all of the 
Pan Handle was organized from Patton and called Stockton township. Pat- 
ton township derived its name from Judge David II. Patton, its first sup(^i-- 
visor and the first county judge of Ford county. 

In 1863, Button was set off from Patton, and in 1867 Wall was organized 
out of Patton township. This is the largest township in the county, being six 
miles north and south, and ten miles east and west. 


The ]\Iiddle fork of the South Vermilion river enters the township in the 
nortliwest corner, and flows diagonally across it. passing out into Button near 
the southeast corner of the township. Along the line of this stream in this 
township is found about all of the timber there is in the county. At Ten 

Mile Grove the earliest settlers first located. 

Two railroads cross this township — the Lake Erie & Western running 
east and west, and the Illinois Central north and south. 

The southwest part of the township is settled principally by Swedes. They 
have a Lutheran church on the east side of secton 30, whch was constructed 
in 1872 by C. M. Johnson. This part of the township is familiarly known 
as Farmersville. 

It is extremely difficult at this time to ascertain with any degree of cer- 
tainty who the first settler was or when he came, but among the earliest were 
John Cooder, who entered the farm owned by William J. Trickel ; Joseph 
Coontz, who entered the farm owned by Frank Meharry; David IT. Patton. who 
settled on section 14, in 1849 ; a ]\Ir. Dunbar, who built the house owned by 
B. Q. Cherry, about 1850 ; Daniel C. Stoner, who entered the old homestead for 
his son, J. F. Stoner, in 1850; Daniel C. Stoner became a resident in 1851, 
and was the first treasurer of Ford county ; John Kitchen ; William Hackworth ; 
E. ITagin; David Crandall; John Cook; a Mr. Edwards; a Mr. Granger; Wil- 
liam Newlin; James Hock; J. D. Hall and son Henry C. ; R. R. Murdock; the 
Day family; William Blanchard; William and Stacey Daniels; the Stites fam- 
ily; J. P. Middleeoff ; and Dr. Carpenter. These families came before 1857. 
During 1858-59, Henry Barnhouse, William Perdue, Dr. L. B. Farrar, Wil- 
liam Grayson, Frank Meharry, Edward L. Gill, William Goodrich, the Ilanley 
family, Robert Blackstock, A. McElroy and a Mr. Tabor moved into the town- 
ship. Remembrance Clark moved into Patton in 1860. lie came from 
Maine. John B. Shaw and J. C. Dunham came in 1861. George Fuoss came 
out here from Ohio and entered the school section. 

There are many Swede settlers in Patton who came here about 1863 and 
later, and among the earliest may be mentioned C. M. Johnson, Peter Larson, 
Peter Hanson, John Nelson, C. F. Carlson, A. M. Hanson, E. Collins, N. P. 
Nelson, William Holmes, Ola Nelson, John Scogg, Gus Larson, C. A. Ostram, 
Peter Peterson, Andrew Nelson, J. P. Youngdahl, Swan Olson, N\'ls Olson, 
J. W. Swanson, John Telander, C. W. Lindstrom, C. and J. P. Swanson, and 
Peter Lundburg. 

It is probable that William Trickel kept the first store in this township, 
if not in the county. The store was located on section 13. A blacksmith 


iiiiiiKii ]|]|i.,,i t( ,, r^ 

L____jm„[|i |i||||||„| j||n„^|j . 



I^OTj^i^j ItJ;^I^=^^:1? 



shop was started at Ten JMile Grove by C. J. Buehner, who afterward moved 
to Paxton and buiit a shop near the railroad. 

The first school in this township w^as a log house at Ten ]\Iile Grove, and 
Judge Patton was the first teacher. A ]\Iiss Lewis came froi;i LaFayette and 
taught the school after the Judge finished teaching. 

Th»i following sketches are of some of the oldest settlers and business men 
who were and are living in Patton township : 

J. D. Hall was born in Ross county, Ohio, April 10, 1821. James Hall, 
father of J. D. Hall, was a native of Maryland, and died in Vinton county, 
Ohio, 1855. Mr. Hall emigrated from Ohio to Fountain county, Indiana, June, 
1839, and to Warren county, Indiana, in 1843. He was married to Eliza 
Wieman in Fountain county, Indiana, in 1841. She was a native of Virginia. 
In Februar}^, 1852, Mr. Hall emigrated to Ford county, then Vermilion county, 
where he began to make improvements on section 33. Mr. and ]\Irs. Hall 
were blessed with four children. Mr. Hall built the first house north of the 
river, in what is now Ford county. The postoffice, when he first settled in 
this county, was eighteen miles from his farm, at Higginsville. Mr. Hall 
began the grain business with his son, Henry C. Hall, of Paxton, in 18G5. He 
had two hundred and eighty-five acres of excellent land in Patton, which he 
entered in 1854. He was the second sheriff of Ford county. 

David Patton was born in Clark county, Kentucky, in 1806. His father 
was a farmer. When quite young he went to Montgomery county, Ohio, then 
to Preble county, Ohio. He was ambitious to become a lawyer and entered 
the law office of Oliver H. Smith, in Connersville, Indiana. One of his fel- 
low students was Caleb B. Smith, who afterward was secretary of the interior. 
From Connereville, INIr. Patton went to LaFayette, Indiana, and began the jna,-- 
tice of law, where he remained about twenty years, and then moved to this 
township in 1849. He first located at Ten Mile Grove. He lived there until 
1865 when he came to Paxton. This township was named after Judge Pat- 
ton. He was the first teacher in this township and the first county judge 
of the county. He held the office for fifteen years. 

THE day family. 

The Day famil,v settled on section 13. They comprised Samuel Day, the 
father ; Peggy, the mother ; and children — John P., Samuel, N. B. Da,v, and 
Cordelia, wife of James Hock. Samuel Day was a native of Kentucky. He 
died in 1858. He married Peggy Purviance in 1821. She was also a native 
of Kentucky. They had nine children. They came from Preble county, 


Ohio, to this state. Saimu'l i-anic here in 1854. He was twice married; first 
to Siisanah Swisher, who died in 1858. He married ]\Iiss Jennie Lyons ^^or 
his second wife in 1861. Sanuiel Day was the first eireuit t-lerk and recorder 
of Ford county. John P. Day was l)orn in 1824. He settled in Patton in 
1857. In 1845 he married Malinda Swisher, a native of southern Indiana 
He served as county treasurer several terms. John P. and Samuel Day were 
engaged in the real-estate and loan business in Paxton. N. B. Day was born 
in I^reble county, Ohio, and settled in Patton in 1854. The Day family first 
lived on the farm that was afterward owned by B. Q. Cherr.y. N. B. Day 
married Barbara, daughter of Daniel C. Stoner, an old pioneer of this county. 
Mr. Day is now living in Paxton. Cordelia married ]\Ir. James Hock, who 
was a resident of Paxton, and one of the oldest settlers of the township. They 
were married in 1858. Mr. Hock was a farmer and stock-raiser, and came 
to what is now Ford county from Fountain county, Indiana, in 1852. 


John Hanley was l^orn in Virginia in 1808. He was brought up a farmer. 
In 1829, he moved to Greene county, Ohio, where he lived until 1855, princi- 
pally engaged in stock-raising. He then came to Patton township and estab- 
lished a lumberyard and grain office on the west side of the Illinois Central 
Kailroad. In 1862, he bought a farm at Ten Mile Grove, afterward owned 
by his son, John M. Hanley, where he lived until 1883, when he came to town 
and lived with his son, Jolni M. Hanley. He was married to IMargaret Alex- 
ander, a native of Virginia, in 1828. They had four children: Alexander 
H. Hanley; William A., who died in 1868 in Xenia, Ohio; Ella M., wife of 
Alexander McElroy, of Paxton; and John M., who was a leading hardware 
merchant in this city. The mother, IMargaret, died at Ten ]\Iile Grove in 
1876. John M. Hanley was educated in Delaware College, Ohio, and was 
pi'incipal of the public schools in Paxton for six years. 


Benjamin Stites was born in Pennsylvania, in 1805. In 1882 he settled 
in (-incinnati and followed his trade of a mason, Ix'sides running a stone 
([uarry. He remained in Cincinnati luitil 18157, when he mt)ved to Vermilion 
county, Illinois, and lived on a farm near Danville, until 1856, when he came 
to Paxton and sell led on tlie homestead. Benjamin Stites was twice married. 
Ills first wife, a iialive of P>utler county, Ohio, died in 1828. They liad two 
chiidi-en. His second wife was Susan E. Stuart, of Hamilton, Butler county, 
Oliio. This union was l)lesse(l with six children: Benjamin F., Hannah S., 
Phebe A., Margaret, William II. and Samuel S. 


Stagey Daniels was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, in 1825. His father, 
Staoey Daniels, was a native of Pennsylvania, and came to Ohio in 1821. He 
died in 1825. He married Lattia Carnahan, a native of Pennsylvania. She 
died in Cincinnati in 1877, at the age of eighty-one years. They had a family 
of four sons and two daughters that lived to grow up ; three others died in 
infancy. The subject of our sketch left Ohio in October, 1856, and settled in 
Prospect City in the spring of 1857. He built his hoase on the site that was 
occupied by G. J. Shepardson's house on College Hill. He was a mason by 
trade, and helped build many of the buildings in Paxton. In 1859 he went 
to California ; came back in 1862 ; and enlisted in the Eighty-third Ohio Vol- 
unteer Infantry; and was in the service until 1865. Mr. Daniels was thrice 
married — first to Margaret Rush, in 1819. She was a native of Germany and 
died in 1859. His second wife was i\Iary Williams, of Cincinnati, whom he 
married in July, 1865, and wdio died in 1867. His third wnfe was Miss Rebecca 
Kempton, a native of Hartford, Connecticut. They were married in June, 
1868. They had two children: Emma, wife of Ed Field, deceased, of Elliott; 
and Albert, who engaged in the drug business at Ludlow, Illinois. ]\Ir. Dan- 
iels was one of the oldest settlers of Paxton. 

John M. Hall was born in Washington county. New York, October, 1810. 
He was brought up on a farm. In 1882, he went to Fountain county, Indiana. 
He held various offices of trust, l)eing at one time county recorder. In 1860 
he went to Kirksville, INIissouri, and engaged in the mercantile business for 
two years, when he came to Paxton in 1862. In 1838 he married IMiss Nanc^' 
Nichols, a native of Ohio. They had three children. Mr. Hall was super- 
visor of Patton township for several years and held the office of police magis- 
trate for many years. He was well liked and enjoyed the confidence of the 

John P. Middlecoff was born in Wayne county, Indiana, in 1838. His 
father, Daniel Middlecoff, was a native of Washington county, IMaryland, born 
in 1800. He came to this township in 1861 and died in 1866. John P. came 
to Illinois in 1857 and settled in Ludlow, Champaign county, and engaged in 
the general mercantile business. He moved from there to his farm in 1862, 
where he remained until 1867, when he came to Paxton and engaged in the 
hardware business. He continued in this for several years. He was elected 
supervisor of Patton township several times, being chairman of the board. In 
1872 he was elected a member of the twenty-eighth general assembly. He was 
at one time president of the Paxton Brick & Tile Works. In 1863 he was 


married to JNFiss Mary Fox, of Cincinnati. Oliio. To them were l)()rn three 
children, all of whom died. Mr. and Mrs. ]\Iiddlecotf are still residents of 

A. Croft is from Clinton eonnty, Ohio, and settled here in 1877. lie 
owns a fine tract of land of four hundred acres lying adjacent to the city on 
the west. The buildings and improvements on this farm are of tlie best. 

AV. W. Blanchard owned a well improved farm in section 20, range 10, 
about two and a half miles south of the city. INIr. Blanchard was a native 
of Windham county, Vermont, and settled in tliis township in 1856. 

A. L. Clark is an extensive landowner, owning about nine hundred acres 
of excellent land, most of it lying in the southwest part of Button townshi}). 
]Mr. Clark is a native of New Hampshire, settling in this county in 1864. He 
makes his home in Paxton. 

C. M. Johnson, farmer, contractor and builder, and a native of Sweden, 
came to the United States in 1846, and settled in the county in 1863. 

David Reep, a native of Butler county, Pennsylvania, settled on section 
28 in 1879. 

F. IMeiiarry came to Patton township from IMontgomery county. Indiana, 
in 1859. He bought a tract of land in section 10, where he erected buildings 
and improvements equal to any in the county. 

William Trickel came from Piqua county, Ohio, in 1836. He was a 
farmer and resided on section 27. 

Peter Hanson came here from Sweden in 1863. 

William Grayson, a native of England, settled in this township in 1858, 
on one hundred and sixty acres of land south of Paxton. 

W. H. II. Ijams, a native of Ohio, settled in this township in 1870, on 
section 10. 

Robert Strong, a farmer and native of IMonroe county, Indiana, settled 
in Patton in 1865. 

Peter Anderson, a native of Sweden, came to this township in 1864, set- 
tling on secti(m 31. 

Charles Deeper, a farmer and native of Bedford county, Tennessee, 
where he was born in 1816, came to this county in 1869, 

Albert Keith, a native of Madison county, New York, settled in lliis 
county in 1866. He was at one time mayor of Paxton, and owiici- of a fine 
farm in Dix township. 




Anotlier large and extensive farmer of Patton is William Perdue, a native 
of Chester county, Pennsylvania. He eame here in 1859. He owns about 
seven hundred acres of rich farming lands in Patton township. He resides 
in Paxton. 

LiN CoKBLV, also owning extensive farm lands, is one of the jjioneer set- 
tlers of this township. He has for several years resided in Paxton. 

C. E. Henderson resided at Henderson Station, on the Lake Erie & West- 
ern Railroad. He was a native of Loudoun, Virginia. He settled in this town- 
ship in 1865. He had a beautiful home and a fine farm. 

One of the oldest settlers of Patton was John F. Stoner, son of Daniel 
C. Stoner. John F. came here in 1851 and settled on section 9. He was a 
native of Indiana. His large farm was one of the best in the township. 

C. M. Taylor, who was principal of Collegiate Institute, was a native of 
Vermilion county, Indiana, and came to this county in 1878. 

J. B. SiiAW, cashier of the First National Bank and a native of Grafton 
county, New Hampshire, came to this county in 1861. 

R. Blackstock was cashier of Ford County Bank. He was a native of 
Canada West and settled here in 1858. 

II. A. Kelso, physician, is a native of ]\Iarion county, Indiana, and came 
here in 1864. 

S. J\I. Wylie, physician, a native of Coles county, Illinois, settled here in 

J. Y. Campbell, physician, settled here in 1866. 

Charles H. Langford, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, settled here in 1881 
and was engaged in the abstract business. 

G. J. Shepardson, mayor, settled here in 1867. 

George Grove, engaged in the lumber business, is a native of Pennsyl- 
vania. He came here in 1875. 

P. Hanson, druggist, a native of Denmark, settled here in 1865. 

0. W. Swan SON, stock and loans, was born in Sweden and came here in 

George W. Cruzen, farmer, a native of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, settled 

here in 1868. 

W. B. Travis, merchant, was born in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, and 
came here in 1868. 

CH.^JtLES C. Putt, importer of horses, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsyl- 
vania, came here in 1875. 


W. JM. Wilson, groceries, a native of Monroe county, Indiana, settled here 
in 1866. 

Harper & Company, dry goods, natives of Washin^iton county. New York, 
came in 1876. 

N. YouNGGREEN, merchant, native of Sweden, came in 1871. 

F. Telander, merchant, a native of Sweden, came in 1869. 

William R. Trickel, gunsmith, a native of Knox county, Indiana, settled 
here in 1836. 

R. S. Hall, agent for the Illinois Central Railroad, is a native of Middle- 
sex county, Connecticut. 

G. F. Sandburg, carriage-maker, a native of Sweden, came here in 1868. 
E. L. Gill, auctioneer, a native of Jefferson county, Virginia, settled here 

in 1859. 

Henry Pearson, contractor, a native of Sweden, came here in 1867. 

White Brothers, lumber, natives of Washington county, Pennsylvania, 
came in 1864. 

A. C. Thompson, banker, a native of Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, came 
here in 1868. 

G. E. Abbott, agent for the Lake Erie & Western Railroad, a native of 
McLean county, Illinois, came here in 1878. 

G. W^. Leeper, wind-mills, a native of Bureau county, Illinois, came here 
in 1869. 

J. L. Larkin, restaurant, a native of New York, came here in 1880. 

George Schlosser, grocer, a native of Pennsylvania, came here in 1862. 

A. S. Hopkins, agricultural implements, a native of Onondaga county, 
New York, came here in 1869. 

Andrew Anderson, grocer, a native of Sweden, came here in 1864. 

L. II. RoDEEN, grocer, a native of Sweden, came here in 1867. 

R. Cruzen, hardware, was born in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and came 
here in 1868. 

B. F. Hill, flouring mill, a native of Erie county, Pennsylvania, came here 
in 1863. 

George M. Dlxon, barber, a native of Jefferson county, Indiana, came 
here in 1866. 

D. D. Denman, builder, native of Montgomery county, Indiana, settled 
here in 1871. 


L. S. HoLDERMAN, a iijitive of Grundy county, Illinois, caiuc lici-c in 1SS;5. 
He has a farm on section 8. He is now living in Paxton. 

The above sliows the business in which each one mentioned was engaged 
in 1884. 


Drnnnner (Jrove township was organized and set otf from Patton township, 
September l-t, 1858, and comprised all of what now composes the townships 
of Drummer, Dix* Snllivant and Peach Orchard or all of Ford county lying 
west of range 9 east, and containing an area of one hundred and eighty s(iuare 

The township took its name from the little grov(> called Drummer Grove, 
which lies about a mile northwest of Gibson, and which was so called in honor 
of a noted hunting dog named Drummer, that became overheated in a deer 
chase and died and was buried in the grove. The only authentic history that 
has been preserved in regard to the life and character of the dog is that he 
was not a "yaller dog." 

In 186-J: there must have been some congressional investigation or some- 
thing discovered derogatory to the character of the dog, for a petition signed 
by a majority of the voters of the townshi}) was presented to the l)oard of 
supervisors asking to have the name of the township changed to Dix, in honor 
of General Dix, of New York, which was accordingly done, and the township 
was known hy that name until 186!), when upon the i'e((nisit(> petition l^MUg 
presented to the board of supervisors the territory comprised in towns 2'.i and 
south half of 24 north, range 7 east, was set off from Dix and rechristened 
Drummer Grove, thus dividing the honors of the territory ecpially between 
General Dix and the dog. 

In 1870 the name being found too long for practical convenience the word 
"grove" was eliminated from the name by the board of supervisors. 

The first settler within the limit of Drummer township was Andrew Jor- 
dan, who was a native from Kentucky, where he was born October 28, 1828, 
and came to Illinois when twenty-one years of age, with a horse, saddle and 
bridle and fifteen dollars in money. He went to work by the month on a. 
farm in Cass county, where he remained for two years, and then came into 
this vicinity and bought a small farm near the timber in Champaign county. 
He lived there a year, then married Miss Amanda Devore, and moved on the 


prairie iu tlie fall of 1851. He added tract after tract of land to his farm 
until he owned eleven hundred acres of excellent land, all lying in one body. 
When ]\Ir. Jordan moved here. Ford county had not heen organized. His only 
neighbors were wolves and deer, \vhicli were excee/lingiy neighborly in their 
visits. His nearest milling accommodations were Danville, Illinois, or Cov- 
ington, Indiana; the nearest blacksmith shop or place to get a plow sharpened 
was Mahomet, twenty-four miles. 

About a year or so after he came here, the town of Pera, now Ludlow, 
was started, which was for many years his only market, a distance of seven- 
teen miles. Corn was then worth ten cents per bushel and land from three 
to eight dollars per acre. Mr. Jordan improved all his land, having it thor- 
oughly tiled with tile of his own manufacture, he having established on his 
farm one of the largest establishments for the manufacture of tile and brick 
in the county. 

The next settler of the township was William Bridges, who came in 1853 
and settled on a farm owned by J. A. Rockwood, of Gibson. During the same 
year, William Jordan, brother of Andrew Jordan, settled in an old house on 
section 13, afterward owned by Leonard Pierpont. Lindsey Corbly came 
next and settled on section 25, south of Andrew Jordan, on what is now known 
as the Weldon farm. 

In 1855 Dr. J. E. Davis settled at Drummer Grove, where he pursued 
farming and the practice of his profession for many years, taking an active 
part in all the affairs of the county. 

The next early settler was Samuel J. LeFevre, who was born in Montgom- 
ery county, Ohio, April 16, 1841, and settled with his j^arents on this farm in 
the year 1856, being then only fifteen years old. Ford county was not then 
organized, this territory being a part of Vermilion county, and all called Pat- 
ton toAvnship, with Prospect City, now Paxton, as the only voting place in 
it. In 1862 Mr. LeFevre enlisted in the Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry and 
served until wounded at the battle of Vicksburg in the charge of Fort Blakely, 
April 9, 1865. His wonnd rendering him luifit for military service, he was 
honorably discharged, and returned to his farm again, where he remained until 
1872, when he moved to Gibson and engaged in the lumber business. He was 
almost continually in the discharge of some official trust since the organization 
of the township, having been school treasurer four years, and trustee six 
years ; member of the village board three years and presid(>nt of the board one 
year; supervisor of the township three and a half years; and chairman of 
the county board two years. 




I— I 




In the same year, with ]\Ir. LeFevre's family, J. H. Diingan came and 
settled on the farm adjoining Mr. LeFevre on the south, and alike with his 
neighbors endured all the hardships incident to that new and wild state of the 
country. He remained here improving his farm and pursuing the peaceful 
life of an industrious farmer, until he saw the thriving town of Gibson spring- 
ing up on the prairie near him, and then moved into town and engaged in the 
grain biLsiness. and was one of the most energetic men of the town. 

Thomas Stephens came next and settled in the south part of the township, 
turning his attention principally to cattle-raising, accumulating by successive 
purchases a large tract of land on the Sangamon. He followed the business 
of stock-raising and farming until too old and feeble to manage his farm him- 
self, when he divided it among his children and settled down with them to 
spend the remainder of his days in a quiet, peaceful way, freed from the care 
and anxiety of any kind of business. 

Among other settlers wdio followed in a short time were Asa Canterbury, 
Caleb ]\IcKeever, B. H. McClure and family, John Pagel, William Reighley, 
Thomas Ilolloway and Lewis Weekman. 

The tirst school taught in the township was at the residence of Dr. J. E. 
Davis, during the winter of 1863, taught by ]\Iiranda Holloway. In 1866 
Drummer Grove schoolhouse was built, and a school taught there by INIary Ann 
George. Among other pioneer teachers of Drummer were Miss Arabella Davis, 
wife of Weaver White ; A. Forbes Irwin, of Peoria, and Weaver White. 

The soil of Drummer township is the best in the county, although when 
surveyed by the government a great portion of it was returned as swamp land. 
Yet, by the system of drainage which has been regularly and steadily followed 
during the past fifty-four years, its value and productiveness cannot be excelled 
in the county. 


Jonathan B. Lott was born at Graysville, Ohio, February 14, 1840. He 
came to Illinois when only eight years old, and located with his parents at 
Danvers, IMcLean county. His father died when he was fourteen, and he 
being the oldest son at home, took charge of the family. When the war broke 
out, he enlisted in Company C, Thirty-third Illinois Infantry, and served three 
years ; then reenlisted as a veteran, remaining until the close of the war, when 
he was discharged on account of wounds. He was twice wounded at the bat- 


tie of Spanish Fort. Louisiana. On his discharge from the army he returned 
to McLean county and entered Wesleyan University, where he remained one 

January 1, 1867, he was united in marriage with ]\Iargaret A. Gibson, and 
in 1869 purchased from Jesse Whitehead, of Chicago, the town site of Gibson, 
and in February, 1869, built his house here. ]\Ir. Lott, by his energy and 
personal influence, secured such changes in the surveys of the different rail- 
roads that brought about their junction at the present location of Gibson. In 
1870 he secured the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield, now Springfield Branch of 
the Illinois Central. The Lake Erie & Western was surveyed three miles south 
of this place, and the Chicago & Paducah, now Wabash, was projected and 
surveyed through Saybrook, but Mr. Lott succeeded in getting them to pass 
through this town. 

]\Ir. Lott departed this life September 19, 1879. The town was named 
after his widow. 

Gibson owes its existence and prosperity to the untiring zeal and energy 
of J. B. Lott. The original town of Gibson was platted and laid out by J. 
B. Lott, the proprietor, on November 1, 1870, and was called Gibson in obe- 
dience to the Scriptural injunction, "Remember Lot's -\dfe," Mrs. Lott's maiden 
name being Gibson. 

On making application for a postoffice of the same name, the department 
added the word "city" on account of the similarity of the name Avith Gilson, 
Illinois; hence the name of the town as platted is Gibson, and the postoffice is 
Gibson City. 

The first inhabitants of the town were J. B. Lott and wife. 

The first commercial business done in the town was commenced by William 
Moyer, December 1, 1870. He opened a grain office, which business he followed 
for a number of years. Commencing with a very moderate capital, by atten- 
tion to his business and the exercise of superior judgment and discretion in its 
management, he accumulated a fortune, which caused him to be recognized as 
the wealthiest man in Gibson. 

Wilson Brothers next opened a general store in January, 1871. on the 
corner south of the opera hall. Next came II. J. Ring in the same month, 
and in April following liis partner, J. IT. Collier, and T. D. Spalding. The 
firm of Ring & Collier opened a hardware store, and Mr. Spalding operated 
a lumberyard near the crossing of the railroads. About the same time came 
W. D. Worrell, J. F. Hicks, James Garbett. J. E. Lewis and others followed 
in such rapid succession that to particularize would be very difficult. 


The first single lady who settled in Gibson was Miss ]\Iary Thompson, a 
milliner. The first school in the town was taught by Miss Caroline Williams, 
and was taught in a public hall. 

The first preaching was conducted by Rev. Schlosser, of Paxton, in the 
Illinois Central depot. 

jMr. C. H. Yeomans was the first lawyer ; Dr. Anderson was the first physi- 
cian; J. E. Cruzen was the first postmaster, and M. T. Burwell the first banker. 

The first railroad through Gibson was the Oilman, Clinton & Springfield, 
now operated by the Illinois Central, which was built in 1871, and was fol- 
lowed the same year by the Lake Erie & Western, but no regular trains were 
run until the following spring. The Chicago & Paducah, now the Wabash, 
St. Louis & Pacific, was built in 1874. 

The first church edifice was erected by the Methodist denomination, and 
was followed by the Cumberland Presbyterian, the First Presbyterian, United 
Brethren and Catholics. There are quite a number of colored people in Gib- 
son, who have built a church called the African Methodist Church. 

The first wedding in the place was that of Bruce McCormick and Miss 
Ilattie Gibson, a sister of Mrs. J. B. Lott. 

The first death was that of a jeweler named Angel, which occurred in 
1872, who committed suicide by cutting his throat in the rear of the New York 

The village was incorporated in 1872, with T. D. Spalding, J. H. Collier, 
S. J. LeFevre, Bruce McCormick and W. T. Kerr as trustees. 

In the year 1871 the school accommodations being entirely inadequate to 
the wants of the rapidly increasing population of the town, the thoroughgoing 
enterprise of the citizens was shown in the erection of what was the finest 
public school building in the county. It is a two-story brick, with a full story 
basement, sixty by sixty, all finely furnished, and heated by furnace, with the 
most approved plan of ventilation. There are five departments in the build- 
ing, with a capacity for accommodating three hundred pupils. The cost of 
this building was twelve thousand dollars. In 1882, this becoming too 
crowded for effective work, another building, forty by sixty, was erected at a 
cost of five thousand dollars, with a capacity for one hundred scholars. 

January 29, 1883, the town was visited by a destructive fire, which swept 
away in the course of a few hours about fifty thousand dollars worth of prop- 
erty, not more than one-fourth of which was covered by insurance. 

Here again the enterprising spirit of the citizens evinced itself, for in less 
than a month from the day of the fire, workmen were busy preparing the burnt 


district for rebiiikling. In six months' time there was erected twelve elegant 
brick stores (all two stories high, except two) from eighty to one hundred feet 
in length, all furnished with large plate glass fronts, as fine as are to be 
found in any city in the state outside of Chicago. The improvements made 
during those six months cost, in the aggregate, nearly eighty thousand dol- 
lars. Among them, and worthy of mention, is M. T. Burwell's opera hall, 
on the second floor of the block erected by M. T. Burwell; is fifty by one hun- 
dred feet, with eighteen foot ceiling, and a self-supporting truss roof, leaving 
no columns or central supports to mar its beauty or obstruct the view. The 
stage scenery is, probably, as elaborate and complete as is found in an,y city 
in the state, except Chicago. The building — hall, stage and footlights — is 
lighted by gas. 

The following is a brief mention of some of the leading business men and 
prominent farmers who have lived and are still living in Drummer township : 

Leonard Pierpont was born in Litchfield county, Connecticut, October 28, 
1819. He came to Illinois in 1858, and settled in this township. He was a 
good farmer, an honest, industrious citizen and treasurer of Ford county for 
four years. He died in April, 1874, leaving a large family. Three of his 
sons were killed in the war. 

William H. Guthrie was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, in 1832. 
He settled in Drummer township in 1865. He purchased from time to time, 
until he owned a fine farm of nine hundred and sixty acres. He was mar- 
ried in 1868 to Miss Jennie Stewart. They had five children. 

James B. Foley is a native of Adams county, Ohio, where he was born 
in 1847, and came to Putnam county, Illinois, with his parents when he was 
three years old. He lived there twenty-four years; then settled in this town- 
ship on section 20. He w^as married to Miss Olive L. Skeel, December 24, 

There is hardly a place in the southern part of Drummer that surpasses 
the fine home of Joseph T. Roberts, on section 35, coming from Tazewell county, 
Illinois. He was married in 1857 to Mary C. Bosserman, a native of De Witt 
county, Illinois. 

Nathan L. Skeel was born in Putnam county, Illinois, August 19, 1848. 
He lived there until al)out twenty-f(mr years of age, assisting his father on a 
farm, when he settled in this township. In 1873, he married Mary Wallace. 

Willard Proctor was born in Rutland, Vermont, in 1827, where he lived 
for about twenty-five years, then moved to Illinois. In August, 1862, he 
enlisted in the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Regiment, and served in the 



war until its close. He was married, March, 1847, to Miss Sarah A. Hewitt, 
a native of Rutland, Vermont. 

Albert Gilmore was born in Harrison county, Ohio, in 1841. In 1861, 
he came here and bought sixteen hundred acres of land. In 1880, he married 
]\Iiss Elizabeth A. Boundy, of Peoria county, Illinois. She was born in 1858. 

Robert A. IMcChire was born in IMcLcan county in 1843. He lived there 
until 1867, when he came to this township. In 1862, he enlisted in the Ninety- 
fourth Illinois Regiment, and was in the service until the close of the war, when 
he was honorably discharged and returned home. He was married in 1865 
to Miss Ann McLaughlin. 

Austin Cr.vbbs was born in Richland county, Ohio, January 8, 1838. His 
father, David Crabbs, was a native of Pennsylvania, and removed to Indiana 
in 1852, where he departed this life in August, 1854. Mr. Crabbs came to 
Illinois in 1873, and located at Gibson. He engaged in the mercantile trade. 
Mr. Crabbs served in the civil war for three years, being captain of Company 
C, Forty-seventh Indiana Volunteers. He erected two handsome buildings 
in the Center block. He was married to ]\liss Catharine Yeiter in Decatur 
county, Indiana, March 3, 1864. 

Gibson also has a Christian church, a Swedish Lutheran and Sw^edish Mis- 
sion church. 

The opera house was built in 1884 by N. T. Burwell. 

A mile of brick paving on Main street was laid in 1906, at a cost of 
forty thousand dollars. 

The waterworks was built in 1895. The water, of a fine quality, is 
obtained from wells and pumped into a tower and reservoir. One pump has 
a capacity of one million five hundred thousand gallons every twenty-four 
hours. Cost of plant thirty thousand dollars. 

The city hall was built in 1906. Lot and building cost eleven thousand 


Gibson has three school buildings. A new one was erected in 1888, at a 
cost of ten thousand dollars. 

Gibson City has two hotels: the New Gibson and the Central. The New 
Gibson was built in 1900, by W. W. Johnston. Cost twenty thousand dollars. 

Gibson's new Presbyterian church edifice was erected in 1905. It is of 
brick and stone, and the cost was twenty thousand dollars. 

The Christian church building was erected in 1891, at an expense of ten 
thousand dollars. 


The physicians now practicing in Gibson City are: F. O. Culter, D. Y. 
Shamel, F. B. Lovell, W. R. Cothern, G. A. Wash, J. C. Cunningham, li. D. 

The veterans of the Civil war have at Gibson City Lott Post, No. 73, 
G. A. R. 

Gibson City has an improvement club, woman's chib, recreation club. It 
also maintains, in prosperous condition. Masonic, I. 0. 0. F., K. of P., M. W. 
A., and Court of Honor lodges, not forgetting the Rebekahs, Rathbone Sisters, 
Royal Neighbors and others. 

The present mayor is C. W. Knapp; clerk, W. A. Davidson; attorne}^, L. 
A. Cranston. 


The Farmers and Merchants' Bank was established in 1885 hy II. C. 
McClure and his sons, Robert A., Herman W., and George L., as a private con- 
cern. Capital, ten thousand dollars. W. J. Stone, now president of the 
bank, came into the concern April 1, 1907. The other proprietors of the bank 
are members of the McClure estate. Robert A. j\IcClure died in 1906. The 
present officers of the bank are as follows: President, W. J. Stone; vice 
president, ]\Irs. Robert A. McClure; cashier, J. C. McClure; assistant cashier, 
W. A. Davidson. 

The First National Bank is the culmination of a private bank organized 
in 1872 by N. T. Burwell. About 1876 IMr. Burwell took into partnership 
W. J. Wilson, and the style name of the firm became Burwell & Wilson, and 
so continued until 1880. The concern was reorganized in the latter year, by 
the admission of E. 0. Leffel, and the firm name became Burwell, Leffel & 

In 1882, a further reorganization took i)lac(' wlien Evan ^lattinson and 
Matthew IMattinson, his father, and Washington Wilson, father of W. J. Wil- 
son, became partners, and the banking firm took the name of IMattinson, Wilsor 
& Company. April 1, 1906, Messrs. Burwell and LefPel r(>tiriiig, a chart(M' 
establishing the First National Bank was secured. Evan JMattinson became 
the first president; W. II. Simms, vice president; E. L. Rockwood. cashier; Bry- 
son Strauss, assistant cashier. Capital and surplus, one hundred thousand 

Gibson City has three railroads: The Illinois Central, Wabash and Lak<^ 
Erie & Western. 



Button township is bounded on the north by Iroquois county; on the east 
by Vermilion county ; on the south by Champaign county, and on the west by 
Patton township. It is situated in the extreme southeast corner of the county, 
lying in three different ranges and two different meridians. It is six miles 
north to south, and varying from five to six miles east and west. This town- 
ship is favorably located; settled with thrifty, industrious people, who are 
mostly well-to-do farmers, with improvements and buildings suitable and 
adapted to the day and age. This township was set off from Patton and organ- 
ized in December, 1864, and derived its name from James Porter Button, its 
first supervisor. 

Among the early settlers of Button township were Edward Pyles, John 
Rails (two squatters. Cook and White), Joshua Trickel, Robert Trickel, AV. J. 
and W. R. Trickel, William and Samuel Swinford, 0. H. Campbell, Story But- 
ton, David Patton, Matthew Elliott, Bennett Lucas, Jacob Tanner, John 
Dopps, IMilton Strayer, Harmon Strayer, J. B. Strayer, Joseph Harris, William 
Walker. J. II. Flagg, A. F. Flagg, E. Wait, Eli Dopps, Spencer Cushing, Dan- 
iel Stamps, William IMcClintock, David Saunders, William Phebus, Daniel 
Moudy, William Montgomery, A. Lance. 

" Trickel 's Grove" is beyond a doubt the first settled locality in Button 
township and in Ford county. A few squatters, who never became permanent 
settlers, built log houses and lived in or near the grove prior to 1835. In 
1836, two brothers, Joshua and Robert Trickel, located at the grove which was 
then a part of Vermilion county, and bought out these squatters' claims, and 
we have every reason to believe the Trickels were the first permanent settlers 
of what is now Ford county, except it might have been Andrew Sprouls, who 
occupied for a short time what was afterward the W. Walker farm. 

The first schoolhouse built in Button township was of logs, and located 
on the farm owned by John Rails near Trickel's Grove. This farm was entered 
by Edward Pyles ; afterward owned by William Swinford, and later by A. L. 

The first schoolhouse built north of the tim])or on the prairie was located 
on section 16, near the Vermilion county line, on the farm which was later 
owned by A. H. Morrison. 

The first school taught in the township was by Simon Mitchell, in a cabin 
belonging to Jacob Tanner. 



Clarence postoffice (Kirk's Station, Lake Erie & Western Railroad) is a 
thriving village and grain center, located on sections 7 and 8, on the farms of 
W. T. IMorrison and S. I. Hntchison. It was surveyed and laid out by Robert 
F. Whitham in August, 1878. The village is surrounded by a fine farming 

The following are sketches of the early settlers and other prominent men 
wlio lived and are yet living in Button township : 

James Porter Button (deceased) was born in Jefferson county, Kentucky, 
January 29, 1822. He came to Ford county in 1852. Mr. Button was mar- 
ried to i\Iiss Sarah R. Hock, in Fountain county, Indiana, February 8. 1845. 
They have had a family of eight children. Mr. Button entered land in sec- 
tion 25, town 23, range 10, in the township which now bears his name. Mr. 
Button filled many positions of trust with credit to himself and satisfaction to 
his constituents. He was the treasurer of Ford county at the time of his death, 
which occurred at Paxton March 22, 1866. 

David Patton (deceased) was born in Ross county, Ohio, December 20, 
1815. Thomas Patton, the father of David, emigrated to Vigo or Parke coun- 
ties, Indiana, when David was about three years old. He remained there only 
a few years. In 1823 the family moved to Fountain county, Indiana, where 
Thomas Patton died. December 10, 1844, David was married to Miss Jane 
Cade, daughter of William Cade, who settled in Fountain county in 1823. 
November 2, 1854, David Patton came to Illinois and settled in Button town- 
ship, then in Vermilion county. Here he resided until his death, February 
29, 1880. He entered four hundred and eighty acres of clioice land in section 
23, range 14 west, in Button township. There were eight children. The 
widow is still living on the old homestead. 

Matthew Elliott (deceased) was born ^March 4, 1799, in the District of 
Columbia. When about twenty-one years old, he came west to Ohio, where he 
remained until the spring of 1850; then came to Ford county, Illinois (then 
Vermilion) and entered land in the southeast quarter of section 25, and moved 
his family here from Ohio in the spring of 1852. He purchased the liome 
place of Benjamin Stites, who entered the hmd and made the first improve- 
ments in Button township. Mr. Elliott died August 23, 1881. They had a 
family of five children. 

Joshua Trickkl (deceased) was born August 5, 1788, in Virginia. IMary 
Triekel, his wife, was born February 8, 1800. William Trickel, son of Joshua 



Triekel, was born in F'u[ua. county, Ohio, October 17, 1820, juul came to Illinois 
with his parents when only seven years old. His father settled at Butler's 
Point, in Vermilion county, until they took up their residence in Ford county. 
Elizabeth, Avife of William Triekel, was born in Lawrence county, Indiana, July 
29, 1838. Her father, Alexander Henry, was an old settler of Iroquois county, 
Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Triekel were married January 7. 1857. 

David Saunders was the first to buy land in school section 16, afterward 
owned and improved by William Phebus. 

Obadiah Leneve was born in Halifax county, Virtjinia, December 30, 1801. 
Samuel Leneve, father of the subject of this sketch, was a native of France, 
and emigrated to America with his brother John. The^' came to this country 
at the time La Fayette and his troops came over to assist the Americans in 
their strife with England for the independence of the colonies. John Leneve, 
grandfather of Obadiah, was one of the soldiers who came over with General 
La Fayette; he died in Virginia. Samuel, the father of 01)adiah, was about 
three years old when he landecj on American soil. They settled in Virginia 
near the old Halifax courthouse ; here he grew to manhood and married Katie 
Arrington, a native of that place. About 1806 he emigrated to Tennessee, 
where he remained about one year; then journeyed on to Kentucky and settled 
in Mercer county ; there he remained eight years ; then moved to Nelson county ; 
then again moved to Sullivan county, Indiana, and settled at Shakers Prairie. 
Here he remained only a year, when he made his last move to Lawrence county, 
Illinois, and resided until his death in the spring of 1831. Obadiah was mar- 
ried in Lawrence county, Illinois, to Polly Lemons, a native of Tennessee. She 
died in May, 1878. They located in Vermilion county in 1821, in the Newell 
settlement, in the northeastern part of the county. They had a family of 
eight children. Mr. Leneve was one of the hard working and successful pion- 
eers of Vermilion and Ford counties. Mrs. Moudy (deceased) first wife 
of Daniel Moudy, one of the prominent farmers of this county, was a daugh- 
ter of this old pioneer. Mr. Leneve died in Paxton, February 4, 1881, at the 
home of one of his nephews. 

Peter Moudy was a native of Virginia, where he was born August 1, 
1801, but was raised in Butler county, Ohio, where his father moved when he 
was an infant. Here he remained until 1835. He was married to Miss Eliz- 
abeth Herring, daughter of George Herring, December 25, 1825. She was a 
native of Pennsylvania, but left there when about five .years old and was raised 
in Butler county, Ohio, until 1835, when they emigrated to Western Indiana 
and located in the Wabash valley. In Vermilion county, Indiana, Daniel 


IMoiidy. son of our subject, was born February 4. 1836. Peter INIondy had 
a family of twelve children. He located in Vermilion county. Illinois, in the 
spring of 1855, where he resided until his death. ]\lay 7. 1875. Daniel INIoudy 
is among" the early settlers of Button township, coming to his farm place in 
1859, where he commenced making improvements by breaking prairie with oxen. 
Very few settlers had located north of the timber at that time. ]\Ir. ^Nloudy 
has owned several fine farms in this townsliip, comprising seven hundred and 
eighty acres in all. He has at all times been one of the leading and progres- 
sive farmers and stock-raisers of Ford county. The first wife of i\Ir. INIoudy 
was a daughter of Obadiah Leneve, an old pioneer of Vermilion county, Illi- 
nois. She died January 31, 1879. Henrietta, his second wife, is a daughter 
of 0. H. Campbell, an early settler of Ford county. 

Obadiah H. Campbell was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, 
December 17, 1811. He left that state and came to Indiana in 1855; remained 
there till the spring of 1856, when he located at Trickel's Grove, buying out 
the heirs of Joshua Trickel. Mr. Campbell was one of the oldest living set- 
tlers of Button township, and owned one of the very first settled places in Ford 
county, owning altogether three hundred and seventy-three acres. His father, 
James Campbell, was born in New Jersey, and emigrated to Pennsylvania when 
fifteen years old. He died there at an advanced age. IMrs 0. II. Campbell 
(deceased) was a native of Pennsylvania. She was liorn in 1817 and died on 
the 2d of February, 1867. They had a family of nine children. 

Jacob Strayer, father of ]\Iilton and Harmon Strayer, was Ijorn in Berke- 
ley county, Virginia, in 1796 ; he came to Ford county in 1854, and lived here 
until he died January 3, 1879. Elizabeth, his wife, was born in Fairfield 
county, Ohio, August 1, 1803. She died June 21, 1883. 

Milton StRxVYEr was born in Fountain county, Indiana. In September, 
1851, he moved to Ford county on the line of Champaign county, and entered 
the land where La Fayette Patton lived. In 1854, ]\Ir. Strayer moved onto 
his farm on section 25, in the narrow range of sections in this townshi}), which 
land he entered in 1853. He was married, August 31, 1851, to ]\Iiss Sarah 
Jane Midcllebrook, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of "William IMiddlebrook, 
who located in Fountain county, Indiana, about 1841. ]\Ir. and i\Irs. Strayer 
have had ten children. 

Harmon Strayer, son of Jacob and Elizabeth Strayer, was l)orn in Fair- 
field county, Ohio, September 20, 1820. He came with his parents to Foun- 
tain county, Indiana, in 1824. He came here in the fall of 1851. In 1858 


ho assessed all the lands in Ford eounty, then Patton township, Vermilion 
county. In 1858, he married ]\Iiss Martha IMcClure, daughter of Samuel 
McClure, an early settler of Cass county, Indiana. She was born in Ohio. 
They had a family of four children. 

Joseph Harris was born in (lermany, JMarch 25, 1888. When nineteen 
years old he came to America, and in 1857, located in Ford county. In 1860 
he was united in marriage with ]\Iiss Josephine Strayer, daughter of Jacob and 
Elizabeth Strayer. She was born in Fountain county, Indiana. They had 
nine children. Mr. Harris, for five years, worked by the month. In 1865, 
he bought land of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. 

J. C. KiRKPATRiCK was bom in Adams county, Ohio. He came to Button 
township in 1861, settling on section 17. Mr. Kirkpatrick was united in mar- 
riage with Miss Sarah A. White, of Oak Grove, McLean county. They had 
eight children. Several years ago he engaged in the hardware business in 
Clarence ; he also dealt in grain, coal, lumber and agricultural implements. 

William A. Hutchison was born in Wayne county, Ohio. He came to 
Ford county in 1868. He was married to Miss Margaret Ghormley, of Ohio, 
His father, Samuel Hutchison, helped lay out the village of Clarence. The 
su):»ject of our sketch was postmaster of Clarence and also ran a grocery store, 

David A. Frederick was Ijorn in IMiddlesex county, Massachusetts, and came 
to Ford county in 1857. 

Hugh McCormick was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. He came 
to Ford county in April, 1866, settling on section 9. 

William Ppiebus was born in Fountain county, Indiana, and settled in Ford 
county in 1865. 

William T. Patton, a son of David Patton, w^as ])orn in Fountain county, 
Indiana, and came to Button township in 1854, locating on section 33. 

James H. and Arthur F. Flagg, brothers, natives of the state of Maine. 
James H. came west and settled in Button township in 1859. Arthur F. came 
to this township in 1861. 

iMiTCHEL A. Karr, son of John Karr, was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, 
and came west to Illinois and settled in Button with his father in 186-1. 

William T. Morrison was a native of Adams county, Ohio, and settled in 
this township in 1868. He lived closed to the village of Clarence, in one of 
the finest houses in Button township. 

Albert J. Pool, a native of La Salle county, Illinois, settled in Button 
township in 1873. 


William jMontgomery, a native of Shelby county, Indiaua, settled in Ford 
county in 1857. 

WiLLLVM Walker, a native of Waye county. Indiana. He settled in this 
county in 1859. 

J. E.Walker, or Elmer Walker, was born in Fountain county. Indiana, in 
1858, and that year came with his parents to this townsliip. 

Samuel Parsons, a native of England, settled in this township in 1869. 
ownin»' a farm of one hundred and sixtv acres. 


In 1884, my husband and I moved to Vermilion county, Illinois. We bid 
farewell to the home of our childhood and the homes that we had lived in and 
the p:ood people that had lived there. Some of them live there yet, and I love 
to visit those old scenes of my young- days. How sweet is their memory after 
so many years spent away from them ! 

The day we loaded our wagons to leave for Illinois, we had a house and yard 
full of people. They were so glad to get us away that they all wanted to help 
us start. They made us a barrel of kraut, and loaded five wagons, and al)out 
sundown we came across the creek to one of the places that I never get tired of 
going to, that was my Aunt Jane Campbell's and Uncle Samuel and Joseph 
Campbell's and spent the night. It was a hard trial to leave all the relatives 
and neighbors behind, — ]\Irs. Harshbarger, ]\Irs. Dice, Mrs. Greenley, an 1 many 
more that had been good to me in so many ways, besides all the relatives, but we 
had decided to come, and I think it was for the best that we did. 

We were two days on the road. We brought two cows, four horses, 
chickens and turkeys. We stayed at Mr. Joseph Delay's, six or seven miles from 
the State line city, and ate dinner at INIarysville, what is Potomac now. We got 
to our future home in the afternoon, in time to unload our goods and put up 
four beds and the cook stove. These were essential things that night, for there 
were five men came with us besides our own family; they came to drive the teams 
and have a good time, and th('\' liad it. We had brought lots of things cooked, 
and had a turkey for tlie first meal in our new home, and we all enjoyed our 
supper that evening. 


That was Thursday evening, and all stayed with us until IMonday morning, 
and then started for home. They had all seen those black prairies, but before 
they started for home they visited the deep cut prairie, Prospect City, what was 
afterward Paxton, but the railroad was the object in view. None of them had 
ever seen a railroad, as far as I know. I know I had not. There was only one 
house in Paxton, or what is Paxton now. The IMr. Stites' family was there, and 
the trains stopped when needed. 

The boys wanted to get something to take home with them, and found some 
beans for sale, and bought them to take home. They wanted to kill a deer to 
take home, but did not get to do that, but got some venison some place, I think, 
but am not sure of that. Deer were plenty then, for you could see them almost 
every morning going from the timber out on the prairie, but they could see you 
about as soon as you would see them. 

]\Ir. Patton went back to Indiana in December, and took the boys back there 
to go to school. There was no school here that winter. 

The Illinois Central commenced to run trains the spring that we came here : 
in the fall there was no railroad at Danville, Illinois. Then men came to our 
house from Covington and the country around there more than once to go to 
Loda or Paxton and take the train to Chicago. 

I forgot to tell the names of the ones who came with us when we moved to 
this country — Obidah ^larlatt, long since dead, my uncle, Samuel Campbell, 
Joseph Douglas, a cousin, and my own brother, S. Cade. 

The first Sunday ]\Irs. William Robison came. I had never met her, but 
she and ]\Ir. Robison came here from Fountain county. Some of the Robisons 
and Woods live there yet. They lived in the field just south of here, but there 
is no house there now. She died the next June. 

She came the first Sunday and was very cheerful and friendly. It did me 
lots of good to have a neighbor so soon. She helped me just as if she had always 
known me, but she was taken suddenly sick of inflammation of the stomach, and 
died. We miss our friends when they are gone, and do not forget their kindness. 

I will now tell about who lived here when we came here that fall. Uncle 
Tommy Lion lived at Sugar Grove then — in the house that has always stood 
there until lately. Mr. Riffle bought ]Mr. Lion out. and then Mr. Patton 
bought the land of I\lr. Biftle. Mr. Hiram Driskal and his family lived on the 
Driskal farm. All these have gone to their long homes, Mrs. Driskal lately. 
A Dr. Ilobert lived in what is now a cattle pasture, just east of the Sugar Grove 
schoolhouse. His family all died, three or four with what is known as milk 
sickness, and then he left and got married again, and then died. Vannata 


lived at what is known as the Lamb farm ; ^Mr. David ^Morehouse lived where 
Joseph Kerr lives now; ^Ir. Jesse Piles lived on tlie Piles farm, the farthest out 
from the timber. IMrs. Piles still lives in Iloopeston, but Mr. Piles had gone to 
his long home. Estrige Daniels lived on the farm that La Fayette Patton lives 
on, but the house was over in the field. Elihu Daniels lived south of William 
iMoudy's. There is no house there now. 

Three families of Tanners lived up close to where the frame and brick 
churches are now; the father, old Mr. Tanner, lived west of the brick church, and 
Peter lived southeast, close to the frame church, and John lived north. Uncle 
John Dobbs, as every one called him, lived between the two churches, on a farm 
known as the old Walker home. His house was the place where we all went to 
church, had preaching every three weeks, and class meeting every Sabbath, 
something we do not have now. 

The house was a large hewed log house, with a fireplace, and room for three 
beds, and for all the people that there was to come. Uncle John D<ibbs was 
class leader, and a good one. I would like to go to a meeting of that kind now. 

There was John P. Dobbs. and he lived close there, but the next spring he 
moved out on the prairie, not far from old Pellsville, the farthest out of any one 
then. He built a house with one room upstairs and one room downstairs. 
Obidah IMarlatt gave it the name of the North Pole, and that was the name of the 
neighborhood for a while. That was the first house north of us until we got to 
Ash Grove. That spring two more families moved out on the prairie, ]\Ir. Dove 
and Mr. Shannon, one east of us, and Mr. Dove northeast of us. I remember 
seeing Mr. Dove's team the first trip he made with the material for his house. I 
think the team nuist have been three miles from our house. There was nothing 
there then but the prairie grass, green or brown, as the season might be. South- 
east of our home half a mile, Harmon Strayer and his brother John lived, and 
northwest of us about three miles ]\Iilton Strayer lived. He is remembered as 
one of the good men of this world. He was kindness to perfection ; and IMattlunv 
Elliott, father of W. H. II. Elliott, and he and his family were all IMethodists of 
the old-time religion. Their house was the first house I ever ate in away from 
home, after coming to Illinois. We went to church to our home. Uncle John 
Dopps, and went there for dinner. We had venison for dinner, I remember. 
I thought then we had good people here, and I think so yet. We had been here 
about three weeks then. There has been regular preaching by the IMethodist 
preachers right in the same place. Only a short time after Uncle John Dopps 
went away, preaching w^as in the schoolhouse until the church was built. 


I Avould like to tell the names of the ministers that have been here in these 
forty-four years, but I think many of them are reaping their reward, and their 
works do follow them. I will not say anything more about this eventful year at 
the present time. 

1885. That winter was one of the cold, stormy winters of that time, and 
we got the full benefit of the winds and the snow. I think the snow stayed on 
the ground perhaps six weeks or more, and cold all the time, and only two rooms 
to our house, and a smokehouse and a stable for the horses and two cows ; no 
fence, only a pen for the corn fodder for the cows and horses. W^. bought that, 
and the cows would stay for the feed, for there Avas no fence to keep them. 

Mr. Patton hired the rails made to fence one hundred and sixty acres of 
land, a good fence staked and tow rails on the top, and INIr. Patton and Obe 
Marlatt hauled all the rails to fence it, through the storms and snows. Some- 
times the snow would blow and drift so that we could not see the tracks of the 
wagon of the next load. I could see them when they left the timber, and get 
almost any kind of a dinner, except cook dry beans, before they would get home 
to dinner. It was a mile and three Cjuarters straight west of the house where 
we lived to the edge of the timber where they got the rails, and I could see them 
very plainly. 

In the after part of the winter Obe Marlatt went to Bloomington after 
plows to break the prairie ; that was as near as they could be gotten. He bought 
five, some for the neighbors. I think if some of the people had to do as we did 
they would think they would have a hard time now. Well, that spring it was 
break prairie witli our own four-horse team and an ox team. The man broke 
by the acre, $2.50 per acre, broke and planted sowed corn, about one hundred 
and forty acres, and raised the best vegetables of all kinds, melons, pumpkins 
by the wagon-load, and the best corn. We sold one hundred acres of it to cattle 
feeders the next fall for five hundred dollars, and was pleased with our year's 

In the spring we built two rooms to our house, and dug a cistern, fenced in 
a garden, and put an addition to the stal)le. 

Money was very plentiful that summer or spring. John Adamson that 
lived at Covington, brought two hundred and over of four-year-old steers to be 
herded on the prairie, and they were so large and got so fat on the grass without 
any expense except to pay the herder and for salt, the prairie grass was so fine. 

1856 was another year of improvement. We set out the fence to take in 
more land, hauled more rails, and built two houses on the farm that winter for 
two tenants to move on the farm in the spring. 


That spring I was sick, had a spell of fever, mikI had a girl to stay with me. 
I had gotten so I did not need her, and she was going home Sunday morning, but 
Saturday evening she took a chill and was so bad Sunday Ave sent for her aunt, 
Mrs. Solomon Koder, but we did not know anything about the disease then. It 
M^as spinal or spotted fever, and the doctor nor any one else could do any good, 
as doctors fail in most cases of that disease. Her name was Nancy Skinner. 
There were three of them. They were orphan children, and their aunt, ]\Irs. 
Koder, had raised them. All three of them were about grown, and all of them 
died in a very short time. They had such a good home with their aunt and 

That summer everything was corn. We could not see the country so far 
away, and the people had come to the country so fast that there were new houses 
on all sides of us. There was lots of corn, and no sale for it, unless cattlemen 
came in with cattle to feed the corn to. Corn would grow then if you planted 
it, without any tnmble. The weeds had not got a start then, only the tumble- 
weeds, and they would roll over the field and lodge against the fences as high as 
the fence. 

1857 was a new year, and how manv times we make resolves to lead a better 
life if these things concern our future welfare which it should. If we start 
wrong in our work we are very sure to come out wrong, unless we repent and go 
back and do our work over again. It is so much easier to make good resolutions 
than it is to keep them. I have found this true all through life. How true the 
words prove, "Prone to wander. Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." 

This winter we did not do much work on the farm and improve it so nuu'h. 
and March 2;3d there came to our house another baby boy. We called him 
Charles Delaware, the -Delaware being the name chosen by his oldest brother. 

This summer was the same; plow, raise corn, cut prairie grass, and cut up 
corn, and have lots of men to work, as we always had. But the last of this 
year there came the greatest calamity that we were ever called to pass through. 
Mattie, our oidy girl, came home from school sick with what proved to be cerebral 
spinal fever and as spotted fever. She was very bad from the first, and her 
suffering was simply agonizing. Her muscles were contracted, and sometimes 
her head would be drawn to her hij)s almost like a hoo]). We had a Dr. Courtny 
from Blue Grass Grove, and a Dr. Whitmore, l)ut they did not do any good, 
neither do I think any other doctor would. Their princip;il medicine was 

She was very sick eight weeks. When we would go to turn her in bed and 
let her limbs fall it would almost l<ill liei- ])ut she lived through all this intense 



suffering. So ninny times she would have spasms, and we would think she would 
not live one hour, but she got over all this suffering without being left with some 
mark of it for life. She was past seven years old at that time. 

One or two days after IMattie was taken, LaFayette was taken bad also. He 
had more fever, and his muscles did not contract so much; it was more in his 
head, and it has left its mark with him for life, for he has always been deaf ever 
since that time. He had gone to school just two or three days. He was sick 
seven weeks, and when he got better so he was conscious and knew us, we did not 
know that he had lost his hearing, and was to be deaf all his days. But one 
niglit some one was there and brought a little dog, and it came close to his bed 
and lie laughed at it. AVe talked to him about it and he would not say a word, 
and then we knew he could not hear, but it never came to my mind that it was 
to be permanent, or it would have lieen much harder to bear. His speech did 
not leave him. He just forgot most of the words, being so young, just two or 
three weeks past four years old, and he says' words yet. 

There was living at our house wnth us a good, sweet girl. Her name was 
IMargaret Shoey. She had been with us about a year and a half. She had a 
mother and an inhuman stepfather, and the neighbors got her away from them. 
Mr. Dove had lived close to them, and got us to go and get her, but she hid from 
him the first time, and the second time she just told him she would not go. 

She took the same as the others had Saturday evening. Both doctors were 
there, but there was no help for her. The spots were more marked than on our 
own two children. She died Monday night or Tuesday morning at one or two 

The disease was epidemic. There were fourteen deaths in the surrounding 
country, but our neighborhood suffered the most. One little girl about two 
years old, Sl.>^'ester King, half a mile north of our home, died. She was sick 
just two or three days. John Wilson's half a mile southeast of us, lost a sweet 
little girl about the same age ; and INIrs. David Morehouse, half a mile south of us. 
All these were taken away in two or three days' sickness. 

We were all just like one family around there then. I left my own sick 
ones to go and prepare the bodies of those that had died. I speak of when our 
house was full of people helping us with our sick ones. 

There were no trained nurses then, and no coffins kept in the furniture 
store for sale. The first thing after death was to straighten the body and take 
the measure for a coffin, and go to the carpenter's and get a coffin made, for that 
would take some time and the funeral would be appointed accordingly. I have 
helped take the measure of a great many people for a coffin, for I was a born 


leader in takinji' eare of the sick and caring for the dead. I commenced that 
kind of work before I was married. I remember a little baby just a few days old 
that I took on my lap and dressed for tlie grave, when I was not more than 
seventeen years old. I think this will sound strange to some. 

1858 came with all of the sickness and death. Some had died before the 
new year came, and some after it came in. ^Ir. Elihu Daniels, south of the 
Will ]\Ioudy farm, died, and ]\Ir. Lucas had a daughter about fourteen years old 
to die ; A Mr. INIullen, that lived west of the brick church, had two little children 
that lived with them. They had no children of their own, and these two died. 
I think the disease Avas not contagious, but it was epidemic. I never want to 
see another time like that. There was a family lived east on our farm. Their 
names were Ilartman. They jiLst stayed at our house. They had two little 
girls, and they slept on the bed with our sick children. Mr. Ilartman would 
only go home to feed his things, sometimes for two or three days; then they 
would go home to sleep and rest, and come again, and his brother stayed all the 
time, and their children never took the disease. Who can forget the people 
that do so nuich for you in such distress and affliction? The people did not do 
any work around there, only what had to be done, and went where they were 
needed the most. I could write about it, and never get done telling how good 
the people were to us, and all the rest that had sickness and death in their family. 
The tears will come sometimes yet wli£n I think of it. 

That spring the creeks were very high. AVe could not cross the middle 
fork of the Vermilion for six weeks, there was so nuuli rain, and no bridges then. 
There was a man drowned that spring in the creek, close to Charley Wood's home 
and it was more than a week before the body was gotten out of the creek. 

IMr. Patton's father came out to see us that spring, and went home and took 
sick, and died ]\Iay 31, 1858. Some one came after Mr. Piitton, aiid he went and 
found his father very sick. He stayed a few days and then came home, but he 
was soon sent for again to attend the funeral. 

The east fork of the Vermilion was very high. He went horseback, and 
had to swim bis horse to get over the creek. No way to go on the railroad and no 
telegraph dispatches then. 

We took a wagon and went over into liuliaiia in August to attend the sale 
of the personal property, Mr. Patton and bis brother being the administrators 
of his father 's estate. 

1859 came, and nothing special happened until fall, when >\lr. Patton rented 
out our farm here to a Mr. Hunt and Isaac Brown, of Indiana, for five years, 
and made arrangements to move ])ack to Indiana, his father having left him a 


farm. He had two wagons loaded to go back, but I was not very much in favor 
of going- and leaving more here than we could get there. That night after 
supper ]Mr. Patton came down to "Sir. Wm. Robinson's and bought his farm of 
two hundred acres of land, the forty that our house is on and the one hundred 
and sixty south of our home. We never thought of going back to Indiana 
since, but loved to go and visit, and to see the old home of my childhood, but the 
most of the ones that I knew so well are gone. 

1860. And who is it that is fifty or sixty years of age that does not remem- 
ber the first five years of the sixties; about Abraham Lincoln and the war times, 
and how we would watcli for the news if we did not have any friends there. 

That spring we moved from the house we had lived in about one-quarter of 
a mile from the house I call home now, into a double hewed log house, wnth an 
entry between them. On January 22d there was another one added to our 
family, and we called him Franklin. He was a very delicate little one and 
always was through life. 

We built our house that fall under many difficulties. The first house we 
lived in the luml)er was all hauled from Indiana, and we expected to have the 
inside work of our present house of black walnut lumber, but got it home from 
Indiana, and put it in a kiln to dry, and it took fire and all burned np, except 
enough for our front door, three wagon loads. All the lumber was hauled 
from Paxton, and the brick for the cellar from Ten IMile Grove, the other side of 
Paxton. In October, William went to get a load of brick, and as he was coming 
home he had a barrel on his wagon on top of the brick, and he Avas on top of the 
barrel. The barrel fell off and he also, and the wagon ran over his legs and 
mashed one of them as wide as the wagon tire, so some of the pieces of bone were 
on the outside of his leg when I got to where he was. He crawled to the horses 
and unhitched them and got on and rode one of the horses to ]\Ir. IMontgomery's 
and we were sent for. 

]\Ir. Patton was after cattle up at Paxton. He was sent for and brought two 
doctors. Dr. L. B. Farrar and a Dr. Smith of Loda, and we had sent for a doctor 
five or six miles south of our home. We got him home about midnight, and all 
three doctors held a consultation. Two doctors were for amputation, but Dr. 
Farrar would not give up to have it done, and the doctors set the limb and Dr. 
Farrar took the case. Billy, as we called him, had almost bled to death before 
the doctors got there, and the doctor had cold water poured on his limb for sev- 
eral days every half hour or so, and saved his foot, and Dr. Farrar, of Paxton, 
should have all the credit that Billy Patton has two feet to walk on to-day. 


Well, I did not have a very easy time that fall — all the carpenters and the 
men to cut corn, for that had to be done if we got anything for the corn; Billy 
and a sickly baby to care for. I had two girls to work for me some of the time. 
Mr. Antony Godson worked here, and the girl that afterwards became his wife, 
Snsan Keplinger. John Harmon that lives in Los Angeles, California, did the 
outside carpenter w^ork, but had Uncle John Koder and a IMr. William Civill to 
help, and after the building was enclosed Mr. Kucler did the inside work and Mr. 
AVm. Kinmin did the mason work — the fastest man I ever saw work at any kind 
of work. 

1861 came as all years do, and we had moved in our new house, which was a 
good one for those times in this country, full tAvo stories high, with tive rooms 
above and four below, and a cellar under the house. It has been a comfortable 
home for forty years, but sorrows have come often, and pleasant times also. If it 
were possible for me to live in this house for forty more years and I would take 
care of it as I have done, it would be a good house at the end of eighty years if 
fire or cyclone did not destroy it. 

The first glass window^s in the sitting room are all good, and never one pane 
of glass has been broken out after forty years. 

I would like to see all the different people that have made their homes for a 
long and some for' a shorter time with us in this house in the forty years that 
it has been my home. IMany have gone to their long home that had a home wnth 
us and were employed by us to work in the house and on the farm. I would like 
to see them all at one table. I think it would reach a long way. 

1862 came and passed without any special incident to our family, only the 
same routine of work that comes to people in every-day life. The horrors of the 
Civil War were thought more of than anything else those times, and how anxious 
we were to hear from the ones that left. 

1863 came and without incident, only we had plenty of work to do. We 
had a large drove of cattle that year, and herded them on the prairies that sum- 
mer. We did lots of farming, and raised wheat, at that time, here on the 
prairie better than can be raised now on the prairie. 

In June that year, the 2r)th, there came a little girl lo oui- home, and we 
called her Ida J., and she made lots of racket most of the time when her eyes 
were open. 

That December l^illy came home from Indiaiuipolis. He liad been tliere at 
school, and soon after coming home to spend the holidays took the lung fever and 
was very bad sick ; and one week aft(>r that, his father took sick with the same dis- 


ease. I suppose yon would call it pneumonia now. This year had a sad ending 
to us. 

1864 came as no other year that I ever saw, and never to be forgotten. The 
first day of that year was the worst storm or blizzard. You could not see three 
steps from you, and it was so cold that you would freeze in a very short time. 
Sammy Patton and a Mr. Smith had a hundred and twenty-five head of cattle 
about one mile east of our house that they fed shock corn to, and they would 
never have gotten home that day if it had not been that there was a rail fence 
that they got close to and followed to our hous(> and liarn. Tlicre was a number of 
people perished that day and night in Illinois. So man^' school children started 
home and were lost by the way, and lost their lives or limbs. 

Mr. John Wilson, a neighbor, lost over one hundred head of hogs in that 
storm. Dr. L. B. Farrar came next morning to see our sick folk, and stopped 
on the v/ay and warmed at Mr. Button's and when he came to our house he was 
so cold he could hardly get to the house, and the snow was drifted so that it was 
almost impossible to get any place. Almost all the chickens in the country 
froze to death. 

Mr. Patton took sick that New- Year's day and Dr. Farrar was attending to 
Billy, and then we sent to Urbana for Dr. Summers to come. Mr. Daniel Moudy 
went after Dr. Summers. Mr. Moudy will never forget that trip, he almost sac- 
rificed his life for us in that great affliction. Dr. Summers came and stayed three 
day and nights, and Dr. Farrar was liere most of the time. He came through 
the bitter cold weather and the snow drifts which lasted several weeks, the like 
of which I have never seen in this country before or since. IMr. Patton was not 
expected to live, and Billy was very sick all this time. 

Eight days after Mr. Patton took sick, Samuel, the second son, took as the 
rest; the red, brick-colored spittle, and pain in the left side like all the others. 
The doctor was here at the time he took down, but could not check the disease, 
and he was very bad sick. Three beds in two rooms, and most of the time three 
men to care for the sick and sometimes more, day and night. There were no 
trained nurses at that time, but I got to be a pretty good one before all got well, 
especially in taking care of fly blisters. Three men sick at one time. It did 
not take me long sometimes to shed tears with all the care and trouble I had and 
hard work, and to think of things out of doors and in the house. 

Joseph Harris came and left his home and stayed twenty-six days, and fed 
the cattle and took care of the other stock, and in the deep snow and very cold 
weather. Money does not pay for such work at such times, and the men in the 
neighborhood would come and stay, sometimes two or three days and then go 


home and sleep and rest, and then eume back ag'ain. What woukl we have done 
if the neighbors hadn't been so good? I never got tired of doing something for 
the sick after that, as long as I was able, if I could do it, no matter who they were. 

After all I have told about this siege of sickness in our own family, Charles 
McGlaughlin, an old Irishman that had no home only our house, took down with 
the same disease one week after Sammy took sick : three downstairs and one up- 
stairs ; four beds occupied with the sick ; one or the other of the doctors was there 
almost all the time. 

Franklin Rice went to Indiana after William Patton, and to tell the folks 
over there about the family all being sick, and William Patton came and stayed 

fifteen days, and his sister came soon after and stayed several days. All these 

trips then were worse than a trip to Denver would be now, but all our family got 

well after three months from the first to the close of the sickness. There Avas 

only one death in the neighborhod, and that was a young man named Shaver. 

If we never got sick we would not be thankful for good health. I thought 
sometimes that I was nearer worn out than the sick M'ere ; I would go out in the 
kitchen sometimes after something and forget what I went after, but never gave 
up but once and that was the afternoon that Samuel came in and I had to fix 
another bed for him. I sat down on the floor and cried, aiul thought I could 
not do anything more, but I thought this will not do, and I had to do all I could 
do, and was thankful I had so much help. This is enough for one year, but 
not half I could tell about it. 

1865 was a year of no special incident in the family, only the common work 
on the farm and in the house. There was always plenty to do that year. Billy 
came home from Jacksonville the 15th of April, the day Abraham Lincoln was 
assassinated, and when lie came about five o'clock in the evening I went to meet 
him, and the first word that lie said was to ask if I knew that the President was 
killed. I had not heard it until then. A IMr. Ballard had just moved in the 
house we first lived in, and I went there the next day, and when I told bim he just 
walked the floor, he was so excited that he did not know what he was doing 
hardly. The whole country was stirred up and in mourning for tlie l)eh)ved 
President's death. His name will live through ages to come. 

February 27, li)02. After almost one year of the time has passinl I will 
try to finish the sketches T connnenced some time ago, and will Icll something of 
what happened in the year that has just closed, the year li)()l. In this year I 
have passed through the greatest affliction of my lift' of bodily suffering that it 
was possible for me to i)ass through, and still live to tell about it, but I will 


never tell it all for it woukl be iiiipt)ssible to tell it so any one would know how 
much I suffered. 

May 8, 1901, I ran a small oak splinter in my forefinger on my left hand, 
and blood poisoning started from the effects of the splinter. The next day, the 
9th of ^lay. we called Dr. Wylie. of Paxton. and Dr. Hester, of Clarence, and 
they split my finger. The next day they came and split my finger and the third 
time had eight or nine places opened on my hand. I did not know much hy this 
time, and when the doctor would dress my hand it was all I could d(^ to stand it. 
The doctor came twice a day for a while, and then went to Chicago for a trained 
nurse, and she stayed ten days. I had to have medicated water poured in every 
two hours, and take whiskey and strychnine every four hours The perspiration 
from the poison was very offensive, and I had to have alcohol baths twice a day 
and a chill one every twenty-four hours, and suffered intensely then. I would 
sometimes look at my hand and wonder if it would ever get better. 

Oh, how glad I would be when the doctor would get through dressing it ! But 
everything has an ending, and so did my trouble wnth blood poisoning, after being 
under Dr. Hester's care from May 9th until July 17th, making fifty-nine visits. 
I thank him for his kindness to me all this time. May (lod's blessing be with 
him through life, and may he live a righteous life, and be a blessing to the 
people wherever he may be. 

"I am exulting while I may. 
For joy is uppermost today. ' ' 
1866. This year there was lots of work to do. Some of the children at 
school and some at work at home. I will here write a subscription, or copy of it, 
which was written March 13, 1866, for John Kepling>>r, who lost his limb just at 
the close of the war. They were our neighbors then. 

Sugar Grove, Champaign County, 111. 
We, the undersigned, agree to pay John Keplinger, wdm has lost a leg in 
defense (^f our country, the sum annexed to our names, for the purpose of 
assisting him to get an artificial leg. 

L. H. Unstad $2.00 

Charles McLaughhan 2.00 

Anton Gitcen 2.00 

R. F. Kerr 1-00 

David Patton 5.00 

J. H. Flagge 100 

Harmon Strayer 1-00 


Arthur F. Flagge 50 

Wm. Montgomery' 1.00 

James Mercer 50 

Stephen Lamb 1.00 

Joshua Lucas 1 .00 

John Warren 1.00 

A. B. Lucas 1.00 

W. H. H. Elliott 1.00 

S. P. Mitchell 1.00 

George P. Gitson 1 .00 

John H. Gitson 1.00 

Aaron Albier 1.00 

A. M. Elliot 50 

Elam Wait .50 

Thomas Elliot 1.00 

Milton Strayer 2.00 

Joseph Harris 1.00 

G. O. Marlatt 1.00 

James B. Lucas 1 .00 

John Keplinger lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and T suppose gets a good 
pension at this time, March 4, 1902. 

In the winter of 1866 we had a revival in the church. Here, I see hy a 
letter that I wrote then, that Billy joined the church at Jacksonville that winter, 
and some names here at home that united with the church — IMrs. Hiram Daniels, 
George Tanner, and some of the Sedletter boys. The Rev. Bannan was the 
pastor at that time, and stayed with us while the meeting lasted; and ]\Irs. 
Search had so much influence in the church that winter. The Search faniil.\' 
moved to Southern Illinois that spring, and we were sorry to see them leave the 
neihgborhood, for INIr. Search was the life of the Sabbath school in the Flagge 
schoolhouse at that time. 

1867 came with its sorrows and ,ioys, as most years do. On Fel)ruarv 20, 
1867, there came to onr house a new baby girl, and she got to be the pet of the 
family, and ruled things as slic pleased in her babyhood and girlhood also. 
That winter I had lung fever, and came near leaving tin's world ; was sick a])out 
four weeks. We named the baby Allie, and now there had been eight children 
added to the family in a little over twenty-one years, and how many wants are 
to be supiilied with eight children to care for. When Henry C. Dodge wrote 
"Nobody knows but mother," I think he was right. 




( i • 

Nobody knows of the work it makes 
To keep the home together, 
Nobody knows of the steps it takes, 
Nobody knows but mother. ' ' 
]\rary Frayne was here, and had been for over one year, and stayed until the 
next May or June. She was a kind, good girl. 

Billy taught school at the Flagge school house that winter, and Sammy and 
La Fayette went to Jacksonville, Illinois, to school. Sammy to the Illinois College, 
and La Fayette to the deaf-mute institution. 

Times have changed since then. I see by a statement today with a Paxton 
hardware and implement store, that Mr. Patton settled February 7, 1867, with 
the hardware man at Paxton. He had bought two Schuttler wagons, and they 
cost $242.50, and one barrel of fiour $14.50 and one $13.50, and there were no 
trusts then. And sold eleven hundred bushels of rye at 85 cents per bushel. 
This is all about 1867 that I want to tell. 

1868 was a new year with many things connected with it. Who is it that 
enters a new year without making resolves to live a better life, and we should 
thank the Lord for all the blessings we receive at his hand. We should praise 
God for a home and the blessings of a home. 

But what changes since then ! I take from a store bill at that time, dated 
1868, George Wright's store, a few items. 

One one-half pounds Young Ilyson Tea $1.20 

One one-half lb. Young Hyson Tea 1.20 

10 sheets paper 10 

1 lead pencil 10 

I broom 40 

12 pounds sugar 2.00 

9 yards bed ticking 4.05 

4 spools thread 40 

I forgot to tell about the building of the first church that was built in the 
country around here. It was built in 1868. It was a Methodist Episcopal 
church, and still stands a monument to many that have gone to their long homes, 
and there has never been a time when there has not been preaching services in it. 
It was dedicated in November, 1868, by the Rev. Dr. R. N. Davies. It is known 
as Pleasant Grove Church. 

I have before me a note that ]\Ir. Patton paid September 2, 1871, that had 
been given to make up a deficiency on account of some of the subscribers failing 


to pay their 8ii])serii)ti()n — I think over three liuiuli-ed doUars in all; Init ^Ir. 
Patton was very proud of our ehureh and paid it willinyly. 

1870. This year was without special events to our family. Christmas of 
that year I went to Chicago with Edd Kingon, a deaf-mute that stayed with us 
that year, and when he w(Mit home to spent the holidays. T went witli him. and 
stayed four days. I had a nice time, and was very much interested in what I 
saw in Chicago, but it was not much like it is now. I was at an entertainment 
at the Wabash Avenue M. E. church, and to the First M. E. church, and to the 
First Presbyterian church, and to the Museum, and everything was different 
from what I had ever seen. I thought it wonderful, and IMr. Kingon and family 
entertained me royally, and showed me around the city. I came home, but Edd 
spent some time before he came back. 

September 3d of this year I got the first sewing machine that I ever had, 
only a little hand sewing machine to fasten to a table; but the Grover and Baker 
machine cost seventy-five dollars, a note on a year's time. "P. S. Point 
Pleasant, Robert Bradley, Agent," so says the old note before me. 

1871. The years come and go, whether we are ready or not. Our home 
affairs were just the same as usual throughout this year, as far as I can remember. 
The last days of September, Mr. Patton and I went to Indiana, and came home 
the first week in October, I think the dryest time I ever saw, and the great fire 
at Chicago the 9th of Octolx^r made us all feel sad; and the forest fires filled the 
air so full of smoke that you could not see very far. We had no deep well then. 
and had to haul water for a mile, and the stock had to be taken to the creek for 
water. It took the cattle herder half of the time to get the cattle to the wati'i- 
and back. 

1874. The new year had dawned upon us in (juiet beauty, and the sunshine 
of God's love is over us. The dear old year was kind to us. Each day brought 
some new blessing to us, whether we were thankful for the blessing or not. The 
new year brought to us a deep well, witli fine water after three months of hard 
work and many discouragements, Mr. Ketchum and ]\Ir. William Le Fever sank 
a well, or made a trial for a well, and did not succeed, and then moved to another 
place, where our well is at the present time; and oh. the joy that came to us wlien 
tlie well was completed tluit .June, and tlie windmill of the Haliday make was ])nt 
up and ready for work, and the well-house finished and a tank for the milk put in. 
There was not any place that I enjoyed at our house so nnich as the well-house, 
and why should I not, after twenty years of getting water sometimes one place 
aiul sometimes another. One shallow well would go dry aiul we would go to an- 
other, and then when it rained they woidd ail have watei- in and would overflow, 


and tlu' water would not be tit to use, not even to wasli dishes in. Sometimes I 
could not get supper until the men would eome home from the field and haul 
Avater. This was Illinois before deep wells were made. 2 Peter ii ; 17; Wells 
witliout water. Rev. xxi : 6: I will give unto him that is athirst of the 
fountain of the water of life freely. All the years since that time the well has 
never gone dry, for the supply has never run out. 

1875. Again a new year has eome to us. The old year was kind, and waited 
and watched to supply all our needs. Tliis year in many tilings was the same to 
us as other years. 

W. T. Patton, or Billy as we called him when we wanted him to get up to 
breakfast, thought the l)est thing he could do would be to get married. So 
November 25, 1875, he was married to Fanny M. Flagge. Our family had been 
going up the mountain, and stopped on the top when Allie was born in 1867, and 
stayed there for seven years, and then commenced to go down on the other side, 
one by one, until all are gone, and I am left alone. Billy sat at our table longer 
than he has at his own, at this writing. 

The realm of advanced activity in the years since that time is everywhere 
manifested ; the resources of every department are being fully taxed. Daring 
adventures, mechanical inventions, scientific discoveries, commercial enterprises 
— all these give signs of progress and unparalled activity in the years since 
the date of this page. 

1876. Almost always the new year nuikes us think of past years, and what 
may happen in the year we make our figures for now. 

This year was centennial year, and many memories of that time cling to 
1776 and to the year 1876, for the celebration of the year at Philadelphia that 
year w^as a grand celebration of the one hundred years befor(\ 

There was no special occurrence in our family that year that I remember 
of until October. Mr. Patton went to visit his old home in 5\)untain county, 
Indiana, where he ahvays loved to go so well, and his oldest sister came home 
wath him to visit us a week and then return home. Mr. Patton was going to 
take her home, but on Friday evening she took a chill. She was very sick from 
the first, and died the next Wednesday, the 20th of October, 1876. The body 
was taken back home. It was so sad for- us to think how well she was when 
she came to us, and how soon she was taken from us. When we went over to 
her home, my brother and his wife had gone to Philadelphia to the Centennial. 
This is all I will say about this year. So many sad things come to us in our 


1877. The new .years eonie to us with many memories of the past, and of 
our duty before us for the future for each other, and to live for the good of 
others, and that the world might be benefited by us being in it if we live 

The lltli of February the first granddaughter was born to us. W. T. 
Patton and Fanny JM. Patton. A bright little babe, and how much we were 
all interested in its welfare; l)ut alas, how soon it was taken from us! It 
was named Eva. 

Some time before this I had been called to superintend the arrangements 
where there was a new baby, and looked after the welfare of the mother and 
child, and I can say I went wherever I was called, day or night, rain or shine, 
and I always asked God to guide me aright in whatever I did, and success 
attended all my work of this kind, and there was never a death of mother or 
child in the more than twenty years of my practice of that kind of work within 
a circle of three or four miles, and sometimes five or six miles. I was called 
to visit the sick and care for the dying. There were no trained nurses at 
that time, and the undertaker was not sent for as they are now. I always 
knew that there was no one sick or I would know of it, for I was often sent 
for before the doctor, and if I said a doctor was needed, that was sufficient, he 
was sent for. I would often stay with the sick and the dying two or three 
days. IMy motto was that if I could be more l)en(^fit away from home than 
at home there was the i)lace I wanted to be. I never lived for myself alone. 
I always took an interest in other people's welfare. I rejoice that I was per- 
mitted to live at the time I did, and in the evening time of life I would do 
as much as ever if strength would permit me to do it; but now I will do as 
much as I can with my pen by writing letters and cheering w^ords to all. Pov- 
erty and riches have little to do with our happiness in this life. 

1879. This year is not to l)e forgotten by some of our family. This year, 
the 10th of April, the oldest daughter of the family left the home of her child- 
hood, the family circle, the loving mother, the kind and indulgent father, and 
the affectionate brothers and sisters, for the affections of another, and changed 
her name from Martha I. Patton to Martha I. Flagg, to shar(> the joys and sor- 
rows of a husband, James W. Flagg. One moi-e had left the parental roof. 
The family are going down on the other side of the hill one by one. 

This was a prosperous year on the farm. The lai-gest and best crop of 
wheat that year, and our- cattle were fine and did well. We got a good price 
for everything. 


1880. This year came in with joy and gladness, ])nt how soon our joy 
may ]«' turned to sorrow. We never know what a day may bring to us. and 
we will be called to endure trials that we think we cannot bear up under. This 
was the case with me at this time. 

IMr. Patton left home February the 20th of this yeni-, on Friday morning, 
and went to his old home over on Coal Creek, what he always felt was his 
home more than Illinois; after living here twenty-six years; Fountain county 
was dearer to him than the home we had here. 

That night he took a chill, pneumonia developed, and there was no remedy. 
The doctors were powerless. Dr. Spinning of Covington, and Dr. Pettit, of 
Veedersburgh were both called. He had gone to the farm that his father had 
given him to stay all night. A Mr. Isley lived there, and had the farm rented. 
I was telegraphed for, and went to Rankin that night and stayed, and left the 
next morning at four o'clock. I got there at noon, and found him very sick. 

I dispatched for Charley, and he got th(>re Thursday, and Thursday I sent 
for Samuel, and he got there Friday, and all the rest came Saturday, and 
Sunday about eleven o'clock the suffering was all over with him. He was 
conscious to the last, and had been all through his sickness and what a con- 
solation it was to hear him tell all about every arrangement that he wanted 
made, and about the place he wanted his remains laid to rest. He wanted the 
Rev. IMushgrove sent for. He was pastor of the church at Danville at that 
time, and he came. He put his arms around Mr. Mushgrove's neck and talked 
to him so much. The consolation there was in all this. His life was ended 
February 29, 1880. 

This year there were two grandsons born in the family. A son to W. T. 
and Fanny Patton, the 5th of July, 1880, and was another addition to the 
name of Patton, and he was named David. On the 8th of August, 1880, a 
son was born to J. W. Flagg and INIartha I. Flagg, and he was David Ross 
Flagg. He ought to be true to his country if his name has anything to do 
with it. 

September 28, 1880, La Fayette Patton and Ella McHenry Were married; 
another one less to sit at the table, and one more towards the bottom of the 
hill when all will be gone. They were married at Sparta, Illinois. None of 
our family at the wedding only Charley Patton. 

This year, April 19, 1883, there was a boy came to live with W. T. and 
Fanny Patton, and they named him Charley. A large fat baby, and he is 
that way now, only he is not a baby. In September of this year, little Fred- 


die died. Ou October 6th of this veai-. Alfred R;i.v Patton was born to La 
Fayette and Elhi Patton. and now he is six feet tall. 

1885. February of this year saw one of the family leave the home of her 
childhood for the protection of another. Ida J. Patton and Charles Agiistus 
Lamb were married, and one less on the side of the hill and one less in the 
home. Oh how sad we feel sometimes, when one ]).\' one they leave the home ! 
But such is life. They were married February 12. 1885. 

September 28. 1885, another son Ijorn to J. W. Flagg and IMartha I. Flagg, 
and they named him Willie, and that is all the name he has yet, poor boy ! 

Well, things went along as usual, but all these years I always attended 
churcli, and enjoyed going to church more than anything else, and teaching lit- 
tle boys in Sabbath school. The weeks were not so long when I got to go to 
church on the Sabbath day. 

On December 13, 1885, there was born to Ida J. Lamb and C. A. Lamb a 
sweet little Iamb for them to fecnl and care for, and they named her Nellie, 
and that is her name yet, and she is larger than her mother now. 

The 3d of February, 1886, I went to Indiana for my brother's birthday. 
I thought he had lived sixty years and I wanted to eat dinner with him that 
day. I went without any announcement of my coming, and surprised him a 
little perhaps. It was the -Ith of February, but the next time they expected 
me to be there, and the event is celebrated yet at that home. 

This year on August 11th, a little girl made its api)earance at W. T. and 
Fanny Patton 's, and claimed admittance as one of the family, and they adopted 
her and called her Carrie Patton. 

October 18, 1888, there came to Billy and Fanny, a little girl, and they 
called her Elsie. She is not very large yet, but the baby of the family is 
almost always babied too nuich for their own good. 

This April, Grace Kirkle\' came to our house to board and teach school 
at the Sugar Grove schoolhovise, and afterward changed her name to Patton. 

What a trial to give up the last girl of the family! All say, "Now what 
will you do?" "Who will you live with now?" "Will you move to town?" 
All had some advice to give as to what wcmld be the liest thing to do. Well, 
I did just as I had been doing. Stayed in the old home, which was home to 
me still. I always loved my home better than I did any place else, but I have 
to depend on other people's children to help me make it a home for myself, 
and the different ones that have stayed with me in these years have all been 
good to me, and I have had a good home with the different ones. I have tried 
to make a home for them, for some of them did not have any home but my 


hoiao, l)iit liow well have I succeeded? T do not know what tliey say about 
it, but I hope that I did not do anything wrong about the way I treated them. 
JMary Allie Patton and David Henry Cade were married June 7, 189-1:, and 
wont to Chicago the same evening, and came back to visit his folks at Peres- 
ville. Indiana, and soon after went to housekeeping in Potomac, Illinois. 




It was not a l)arren waste; it was a bleak cold place in the winter time. 
The snow went the way the wind took it as far as it wanted to go, and the 
tumbleweeds aLso ; but in the summer time it was all grass and flowers, and 
you could see as far as the strength of >-our eyes would let you see. and the 
tall grass, when the wind blew, was like the waves of the sea, beautiful to 
behold. If you knew where you wanted to go you had nothing to do but to 
start out and go, but look out for the ponds of water or you would be right 
in one if you did not, for the grass in the ponds would be higher than your 
head, and it would be lots more trouble to get out than to get into a pond. 
They were just like getting into trouble about other things, it was easier to 
get in than to get out. Now you have the hedge fence and the straight roads 
and the square corners and the groves, and you can't see a wagon five miles 
on the prairie as you could then. 

When we came to this count\' it was Vermilion county. That was in 
November 2, 1854. It was a lonely place a little farther out on the prairie 
than our neighbors were at that time, for the people that were here wanted 
to live close to the timber. The wolves would howl and make the nights 
seem lonely. 

Our neighbors at that time were ]\Ir. Thomas Lions. He lived at what was 
called Sugar Grove, and which still has that name. Their house was just west 
of the Patton Cemetery, in the corner close to the timber; the old house was 
there until about five years ago. ]\Ir. Lions died in Paxton. 

Mr. Vannata lived on what is called the Lamb farm. INIr. Pliny Lamb 
bought the farm of Vannata in 1856, and died there in 1858. Mr. David 
Morehouse lived where Joseph Kerr lives now; Mrs. ]\Iorehouse died in 1858, 
and Mr. ^Morehouse married again and moved away from the country. 

Eastidge Daniels lived on the land that La Fayette Patton lives on at this 
time ; he sold the land to David Patton, and moved close to Danville, Illinois, 


and died there; Elislia Daniels lived on the farm that William Moudy owns 
at this time, and he died there in 1858, loved and respected by all who knew 

Mr. John Dopps lived between where the two churches now stand, just 
where the house is that JMr. Daniel JNIoudy owns at this time, and that was 
the place where we went to church at that time, and we still ^^o there. Uncle 
John Dopps, as we all called him, could sin^ and shout and praise God every 
Sunday in tlie year. The circuit preacher came every three weeks at that 
time. One daughter died while they lived there, but Mr. Dopps sold out 
and went West, and how we missed him. Then we had preachino- in the 
Flagg schoolhouse until we built the church in 1868. 

A. Mr. Turner lived just west of where the brick church is, but soon left 
the country. Mr. Matthew Elliott lived close to where Roy Elliott, a grandson, 
lives, and he lived and died on that farm. Ilis life was always for the right, 
and he was never absent from church when it was possible for him to be there. 
One son, W. H. H. Elliott, still lives, and the old home is still dear to him; 
two daughters live at Catlin, Illinois, a Mrs. Boggus and a Mm. Wilson. 

Mr. David Robison lived where I now live, in a log house. William 
Robison lived south and a little east of our house. There is no house there 
now. His wife died there the next June, 1855. She was a good woman, 
and left one little boy; she came to our house the first Sunday after we came 
to this Illinois home, and helped me get dinner. There were five men helped 
us move here. We got here Thursday evening, and all stayed over Sunday. 
I was pleased to have her come to visit us so soon, but she was soon taken 
away from us. William Robison got married again, and went west. 

Mr. Harmon Strayer and his brother lived on the farm now owned by 
Mrs. Grace Culbertson, but Harmon Strayer sold it to Mr. John Wilson, and 
then bought land northwest of here and improved it. His father, INIr. Jacob 
Strayer, lived south of where Harmon Strayer lived, and Milton Strayer lived 
half a mile east of his father. There* was a father and five sons, all passed 
from earth — all good, joeaceable men. 

Hiram Driskel lived south of Sugar Grove. He died several years ago, 
but has two sons living, George and Ephraim. Mr. Jesse Piles lived on what 
is known as the old Piles farm. He came to what is now Butler township in 
March, 185;?, and was the first settler in what is now Butler township, and 
lived on the same farm until his death, July 4, 1884. 

When we went to Indiana, we went past the Piles home, and that was the 
last house but one between Sugar Grove and Marysville, now Potomac. There 



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was one house, but I cannot locate the place. A man hy the name of ]\Ied- 
sker lived there. You could not stop and ask, ''Is this the right road?" or 
"How far is it to Marysville ? " at that time, for there was no one to ask, and 
tlie road paid no attention to section lines then. 

Everything for our house and stable Avas hauled along that road. Mr. 
Patton started at three o'clock one morning to go to Marysville to get nails 
to l)uild our stable. Our flour and everything we used was hauled from Cov- 
ington, Indiana, or some place along the road, and the countr^y mills. 

There was not a railroad in Danville at that time, but the Illinois Cen- 
tral was running trains. They had commenced in the spring of 1854, and the 
company that built the road got every other section of land on either side 
of the road for ten miles, and some places farther, but there was only one 
house at Paxton at that time, and the company has never been willing or able, 
after fifty years, to l)uild a decent depot to accommodate the traveling public. 

In a year or two great changes took place in this country; the land was 
all taken up, and that that had been bought for one dollar and twenty-five 
cents per acre and up w^as sold for five or six dollars per acre, and has increased 
in value ever since, and the improvements have kept pace with the value of 
the land. 

Then we put bells on our horses and cows, so we could tell where they 
were on foggy mornings, but now the bells are in the churches and on the 


All that part of Ford county lying in range 7 and 8 east was originally 
called Grove. In 1861 steps were taken by the citizens to have the 
name changed to Dix, in honor of General Dix, of New York. The petition 
was granted by the board of supervisors. Afterward the following townships 
were created or set off from Dix, viz : Drummer, Sullivant and Peach Orch- 
ard, leaving the jjresent township of Dix. 

Among the early settlers of this township were John Waggoner, John D. 
Bell, David Metcalf, Ephriam and James A. Blackford, Samuel Todd, George 
Waggoner, Asa Trickel, John Wallace, Jackson Pitser, R. Stephen Chamberlin, 
Joseph Kendall, John Brown, James Reed, Levi Foutz, Leonard Pierpont, 
David Pollock, John Schoonmacher, Jonathan Bedell, Charles Wilcox and Peter 


The first postoffit-i' in Dix towiisliip was East Bend, with Joliii S. AVayyoner 
first postmaster; his coiiiiiiissiou was dated November 26, 1859. 

The first person who died in Dix township was Asa Triekel, who was l)nr- 
ied at the Wallace graveyard near Elliott. 

Tlie first sehoolhonse built in this township was in district No. 2, built in 
the spring- of 1859. IMiss Cynthia Newlin, daughter of William Newlin, of 
Patton township, taught the first school in this district and in the township. 

The first religious service held in Dix township was at the house of John 
S. Waggoner, by Rev. Mr. Wenner, who was a United Brethren minister. 


The land where Elliott stands was donated by S. P. Bushnell, Samuel 
Elliott and Gustave Punke. It was the undivided half of forty acres. Mr. 
Elliott contributed twenty acres, ]\Ir. Bushnell ten acres and Mr. Punke ten 
acres. It was surveyed and laid out by County Surveyor II. J. Howe. John 
Richardson built the first elevator in Elliott. J. J. Crawford was the first 
postmaster, and Hugh Lambert was the first station agent. The village was 
named after Samuel Elliott. The village is surrounded by a fine farming 
country and is a good trading point. 

The first town meeting was held at the Oregon schoolhoiLse, on the 4th day 
of April, 1865. The meeting was called to order by A. ]\I. Smith, the town 
clerk. J. S. Brown was appointed moderator. At this meeting, the following 
township officers were elected: supervisor, Ephriam IM. Blackford; town clerk, 
A. M. Smith; assessor, William B. Holmes; collector of taxes, Benjamin Smith; 
justices of the peace, Leonard Pierpont and Johii S. Waggoner; highway com- 
missioners, John Bell, Joseph Kendall and David Pollock. 

The following sketches are of some of the early settlers and prominent' 
citizens who lived in Dix township: 

John S. Waggoner, one of the old settlers and bnsiness men of Dix town- 
ship, was born in Lewis comity, Virginia, June 28, 1822, where he lived several 
years; then moved to lioone county, Indiana. Tie made his home there for 
abont twenty years. lie came to Ford county in the fall of 1855 and settled 
on section :V.]. Mr. Waggoner was the fii-st justice of the peace of the town- 
ship. He held Ihc office many years and was also ])()stmaster at East Bend 
several years. 


John D. Bell was born in England, November 22, 1819, where he 
remained until he was twenty-two years of age.' He came to America and 
settled in Providence, Rhode Island, M^here he worked at his trade in the print 
works for five years. lie came to this township in 1857. In 1863, he enlisted 
in the Chicago Mercantile Battery and served with it for three years. Mr. Bell 
was the first town clerk of this township and also held the office of assessor 
and collector. He was the first trustee of the schools. 

David Metcalf, a native of England, county of Westmoreland. Here he 
was born November 26, 1823, and lived at his home, working at the cooper's 
trade, for twenty-eight years. Emigrating to America, he settled in Ford 
county. In I\Iay, 1851, he married Miss Sarah Bell. 

John Richardson, a native of Liverpool, England, emigrated to America 
in 1849 and landed in Canada. He moved to Bufi'alo, New York, learned 
the mason's trade, and worked at it in Detroit, Michigan. In 1856 he moved 
to Iowa and prospected around until his funds were nearly exhausted. He 
came to Paxton and worked at his trade several years. He then rented a 
farm, and in time, by his frugality and industry, he was able to purchase 
eighty acres of land. To this he added year by year until he had accumulated 
five hundred acres. This farm he exchanged with Judge Patton, of this 
county, for one thousand acres lying in Patton and Dix townships. In 1873, 
he came to Elliott and engaged in the grain business. In 1855 he married 
Miss Sarah Simons, of Michigan. They had seven children. 

Cyrus R. Marshall was born in Windsor county, Vermont, in 1837, where 
he lived until 1850, working on a farm. He then moved to Woodford county, 
Illinois. In 1878 he came to Dix township and bought one hundred and sixty 
acres in section 3. In October, 1857, he married Elvira Johnson, of Peoria 
county, Illinois. 

Abel Hanson was the first Norwegian who moved into Dix township. He 
came here in 1871 and rented a farm for three years. He then purchased 
eighty acres in section 14, and later eighty acres in section 22. 

Robert Jardine came from Logan county, Illinois. He was born in Scot- 
land. He came to Dix township in 1867, settling on a farm in section 4. 

Andrew Hamilton was born in Fairview township, York county, Penn- 
sylvania, November 6, 1836. He lived there, working on a farm and at the 
carpenter's trade, over twenty-eight years. He came to Illinois, first settling 
in Livingston county, where he remained nine years, then moved to Dix town- 
ship. He was married, September 14, 1862, to Mrs. Martha E. Carothers. 
They had three children. 


A. A. Barrow wji.s born in Vir<;inia, July 8, 1848. where he remained until 
1867, when he removed to Bloomington, Illinois, with his father, who came to 
Ford county and bought several luuidred acres of land. ]\Ir. Barrow was 
married, December 25, 1872, to ]\Iiss ]\Iartha E. Barrow. 

George Henry Trailor was l)orn in Illinois, Octol)er 20, 1836. He lived 
in Bureau county for thirty years, engaged in farming. He then sold out and 
came to Livingston county, Avhere he Ijonght a farm and lived for six years. 
In 1859 he crossed the plains and went into the gold mines of the far west, 
meeting Avith good success. In 1861 he married IMiss Eliza J. Swisher, who 
died in three years, and l)y whom he had twin daughters. His second wife 
Avas ]\Iiss IMary Butts. 

Jesse Tonn was born in Indiana in 1834. where he lived seventeen years. 
He then moved to Vermilion county, Illinois. Soon after, he came with his 
father to Dix township. He married JMiss Rosanna Hagin, March 18. 1858, 
in Urbana, Champaign county, Illinois. They had eight children. 

John M. Miner came to Illinois in 1858 and settled in Homer township. 
Champaign county, Illinois. lie moved into Ford county in 1863 and was 
superintendent of the great Sullivant farm for several years. He was town 
collector, town treasurer and school director for many years. 

Andrew M. Speedie, son of ^Matthew Speedie, settled on the east half of 
the southeast quarter of section 17. 

Samuel W. Wade was the owner of eighty acres in section 4, Dix 

C W. Preston was the owner of east half of the northwest (luarter of 
section 8, in this township. 

J. C. Thornton was l)orn in Vii-ginia, in 1835. He was married to IMiss 
Anna ]M. Johnson in 1863. He moved to Ford county in 1864. Here he 
held vai'ioiis town offices. 

IMattiiew^ Speedie came from Scotland in 1850 and settled first in Fall 
River, Massachusetts, where he pursued his trade of millwright for sixteen 
yeai-s. lie came to Dix in 18()(). He was married .Iun(\ 1847. to Isal)ella 
Colston, of Scotland. 

Henry Harrison Atwood was man-icd. February 28, 1862, to Miss L. INF. 
Daniels, of "Woodbury, Vermont. He was born in Lamoille county, Vermont, 
in 1836. and caine west in 1850. locating in Ohio. He came to Dix townshii) 
in 186() and hecaiue the ownei- of a Tai'in of i'onr hundred and eighty acres, 
on which he raised fine stock. 


Samup:l Elliott was born in TIolnK^s connty, Ohio, in 1837 nud lived there 
thirty-five years, then came to Dix townshij). In 1860 lie married JMiss Anna 
Crawford, of Coshocton county, Ohio. ]\Ir. Elliott was instrumental in laying- 
out the villaije in this township that bears his name. 

John W. Edwards was born in Morganfield, Kentucky, in 1842. In 1868 
he moved to La Salle county, Illinois, from there he went to IMarshall county ; 
and came to Dix township in 1877. lie married ]\Iiss Chrissa L. Lonii', of 
]\Iarshall county, in 1866. 

Aaron C. Bullington was born in Quincy, Illinois, in 18-4-4. His par- 
ents moved to Jefferson .county, Missouri, soon after he was born, living there 
several years. They came to Woodford county, Illinois. In 1862 the sub- 
ject of this sketch enlisted in the Eighty-sixth Illinois Infantry and served in 
the Civil war for three years. Mr. Bullington was twice married, first in 
1869 to jNIiss Mary C. Leonard, ])y whom he had two children. His second 
wife was Atlanta V. Blake, of this township, by whom he had three children. 
Mr. Bullington settled in this township in 1876. In 1882 he was elected 

J. E. IIagin came to Ford county in an early day. He was born in Cape 
May county. New Jersey, in 1836. In 1859, he married ]\Iiss Barbara E. 
Crothers. She died several years afterward, and his second wife was IMiss 
Ellen Myers. 

John Hollen, importer and breeder of fine horses, settled on section 3. 

C. G. Ryerson was born in Norway in 1832, emigrating to America in 1857. 
He settled first in La Salle county, then came to Ford county, locating on sec- 
tion 28. In 1861 he married Miss Knutson, a native of Norway. 

Henry Shields was born in Ireland in 1835. He came to America and 
settled in New York state in 18-4-4. He came to Ford county a few years 
later. He was married to Miss Almira Sharp in Januar^^ 1865. He was 
again married, to Anna Eliza Spencer in 1875. 

Joseph Richmond was the leading druggist of Elliott. 

A. T. Blake was born in Virginia, March 28, 1824. His parents moved 
to Ohio, where he lived until twenty-two years old, helping his father in cul- 
tivating hops. In 1847 he left Ohio aiul moved to Wayne county, Illinois, 
where he lived on a farm for seven years ; then went to Logan county and 
farmed for sixteen years; then settled in Ford county. He was postmaster at 
East Bend for eleven years; keeper of the ])oor house for six years; road com- 
missioner for nine years; and held various other trusts in Ihe gift of the peo- 
ple. In 1847 he married Cyntha Staffs. 


John Keesey was born in Maryland in 1814. where he lived for seven 
years ; then emigrated to Ohio, where he lived about thirty years. He then 
came to Ford count}', first settling in Patton township, where he lived on a 
farm for eighteen years; then moved to Elliott and opened a meat market. 
He was twice married — first in Ohio in April, 1837, to Saloma Crise. They 
had ten children. In 1880 Mr. Keesey was married to ]\Irs. Jane Culbertson. 
John Shilts, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, came to the United States 
in 1853, and to this county in 1868, residing on section 24. 


The territory now organized into Pella township originally formed a part 
of Stockton, and from 1861, when Brenton was organized, vip to 1870 it formed 
a part of that township. 

This to-wnship was the youngest of the sisterhood of townships in Ford 
county, and was unfavorably located for early settlements, on account of its 
being mostly a low, level prairie and exceedingly wet, except in the driest times 
of the year. The Vermilion swamps extend across the northern part of the 
township, the south fork of the north Vermilion river, a slow, sluggish stream, 
flows across the center, and various marshes and sloughs are scattered over the 
township, and much of the land was long regarded as irreclaimable. But of 
late years many Irish families have moved in and bought the wet lands, and 
at once began the work of ditching and tile draining, and such other changes 
were made as to warrant the belief that Pella ranks as one of the best town- 
ships in the county. 

The first settler in this township was Robert Hall, who bought land in sec- 
tions 16 and 28; he came in 1857. The next settler was Henrj^ Atwood, who 
settled on the southwest (juarter of section 22. Henry ]\Iitchinson came the 
same year and settled on the northwest quarter of section 22. Lyne Starling, 
a cousin of IM. L. Sullivant. of Sullivant township, settled on section 35. 

The first man to locate in Pella after the war, was John Bales; the same 
year James IMcCarty and James Taggart came. In 1868, Edward Doran. 
The ]\IcTier family, Robert Wells, Andrew Hickman, Hugh Rice, Abraliam 
Fadden, M. C. Kice, Daniel IMarble, William Andrews and Owen Murtaugh, 
setth'd ill 1his township, and about the same time Charles Yates, James Sheldon, 
llic K'ccd ])oys, Charles, Arby, Thomas- Butlei- and Va\. Thcmias Correll, J. S. 
Ruff, Patrick McNouglitou, Andrew Stuart, William Michael, and John Ward. 


Ljaie Starling, who came from New York, built the house in section 35, known 
as the old Brenton House. This house was built of the best material and in a 
very substantial manner. The building of this large house and the extensive 
preparations for farming on a large scale by Mr. Starling were quite an encour- 
agement to the settlers. The Starling property was all of sections 1 and 3, 
east half of 17, and northwest quarter of 5, in Brenton, and 31, 33 and 35 in 

The first marriage in Pella was between Henry Atwood and j\Iiss Mary 
Wylie. They were married by W. P. Pearsons, of Onarga, November 16, 1850. 

The first school taught in Pella was at the house of Henry Atwood in 
1863, his wife being the first teacher. The first schoolhouse built w^as the Reed 
schoolhouse, in district No. 1, Butler Reed being the first teacher. 

The first town meeting was held at the Center schoolhouse. 

Pella used to be an immense hay field during the war, thousands of tons 
being annually cut, pressed and shipped to market. 

There is no village, postoffice or church in this township, the trading point 
for most of the citizens being Piper City, which lies close to the south line of 
the township. 

Joseph Mitciiinson, one of the leading citizens, was born in England, in 
June, 1838. His parents were farmers, and Joseph worked on the farm for 
several years, then left there and came to America. He settled in this town- 
ship in 1858, on section 22. He became the owner of one hundred and twenty 
acres of rich farming land. In 1865 he married Elizabeth Agnew, of England, 
by whom he had six children. 

William P. Moore, one of the leading farmers and stock-raisers of Pella, 
was born in Perry county, Ohio, in 1834. He left there in 1866, and settled 
in Warren county, Illinois; after living there two years, he moved to Pella 
township and settled on a farm in section 32. In 1862, he enlisted in the 
One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio Regiment, and served in the Civil war 
until its close. He was married to Eliza Hickman, of Pennsylvania, in 1857, 
by whom he had six children. Mr. Moore was road commissioner for many 

Charles A. Cook was born in London, Ontario, November 3, 1845. He 
left Canada and settled in La Salle county in 1857, and came to Ford county, 
Pella township, in 1870. He became the owner of a rich farm in section 30. 
]\Ir. Cook was twice married ; first to Angeline Dean, in 1870 ; she died in 1877. 
In 1879 he married INIiss Carrie ^lontelius; she died in 1883. 



Wall townsliip was ors:anizod out of the original township of Patton in 
1867. It is bounded on the nortli by Lyman township ; on the east by Iroquois 
county; south by Patton township, and west by the townships of Dix and 
Peach Orchard. It was named after Abraham Wall, the first settler wlio came 
to this township from Marshall county, Illinois, in ISo-I. Among other early 
settlers were Fred Dienelt, James Simpson, Christian Snyder, Samuel Bell, 
William Noel, AVilliam Kenward, J. Bonsel, Paul Cooley, John Travis, Levi 
]\[iller, Agrippa Wells, Seth Lytle, William Liggett, James Barnes, John ]\Ior- 
ris, John Richardson, John Bayne, and Edgar Sharp. 

The first town meeting was held at the Stringtown schoolhouse district No. 
2, when the following were elected the first township officers: William Lig- 
gitt, supervisor; Steven Fry, town clerk; John INIorris, assessor; John Richard- 
son and John i\Iorris, justices of the peace. 

The first schoolhouse erected in Wall was the Noel schoolhouse, and Wil- 
liam Noel's wife was the first teacher. The Stringtown schoolhouse was tli3 
next one built, and Miss Emma Simons, daughter of the first county clerk, 
taught the school for two years. 

James Barnes ''son Walter, was the first child born in the township. 

This township contains only a small per cent of unimproved land, and its 
inhabitants are well-to-do farmers. 

Among the leading farmers who lived in this township, may be noted the 
following : 

John F. Kenney was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, in ISof). 
He came to this township from Putnam county in 1872, settling on section 14. 
He married Miss Mary E. Phelps, of Putnam county, in 1860. ]\Ir. Kenney 
was one of the many men who came to this county from the east without capi- 
tal, and by his hard work he became the owner of three hundred and sixty 
acres of land. 

William Kenwakd, a native of Sussex county, England, came to Illinois 
in 1851. He was twice married — first to Elizabetli IMcConaty, a native of Lnki^ 
county, Illinois, who died in 1871. In 1873 he married Rhoda Snclling, a 
native of Harrison county, Ohio. Mr. Kenward came here poor, but liy hard 
work, economy and strict integrity, became the owner of two hundred and 

eighty-two acres. 

Fred Dienelt, boni in Brunswick, Germany- in 1828. In 1813 lie went 
to sea, sailing around llic world before he was seventeen years old, and there 


are few places in this hemisphere that have not been visited by him. lie came 
to Ford county in 1858, being the second settler in this township. He was 
twice married — first to ^lary Kaminsky, of Germany, who died in 1872, and 
the following year he married IMattie WelLs. His lil)rary was considered the 
largest and most valuable of any person's — exeei)ting professional men — in the 
county, and much of his time was passed in reading scientific works and study- 
ing astronomy. 

Levi Miller was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, in 1881. lie moved 
to Illinois from Ohio in 1854, and to Wall township from La Salle county, in 
1864. In 1852, he married INIaria Werts, of Preble county, Ohio, by whom 
he had ten children. He laid out the road districts of Wall township. 

William Kenney was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania. He 
came to this township in 1875. He was married in 1850 to Mary McVane, by 
whom he had six children. 

Richard Trigger was born in Devonshire, England, in 1832. He came 
to America in 1859, settling in Peoria county. He came to Ford county in 
1869, purchasing the north half of section 11. He was married to Elizabeth 
A. Stoves, of England, in 1855. They had nine children. , Mr. Trigger was 
highway commissioner for a number of years. 

Saunders McCormick was born in La Salle county, Illinois, in 1836. He 
taught in the public schools of his native comity for several years. He spent 
two years in the gold mines of the western territories, and also was bookkeeper 
for a cotton merchant of Texas. He came to Ford county in 1868, settling 
on the northwest quarter of section 9. He was justice of the peace for many 

William A. Campbell was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, 
in 1843. He moved to Fountain county, Indiana, where he resided for a short 
time; then came to Ford county, settling in Trickel's Grove, Button township. 
He was married to Elizabeth C. Irwin in 1868, by whom he had four children. 
His father, 0. H. Campbell, was one of the early settlers of Ford county. 

Robert M. Karr was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, in 1834. In 1869, 
he came to Ford county, becoming the owner of three hundred and twenty 
acres of land in section 34. He was married in 1858. He enlisted in the 
One Hundred and Forty-third Hundred Day service, and served one year. 

Worth IMcCormick was born in La Salle county, Illinois? in 1853, living 
there until nine years of age, then came to Drummer township, where he 
lived until he moved to Wall township. In 1877, he married Miss Samantha 
English, of Picpia county, Ohio. 


John IIamlon was a native of All)any, New York. lie came to Chicago 
in 18-43 and was bound out to a farmer in Kendall county for eleven years, 
lie married i\Iary Baxter in 1861. lie became the owner of two hundred and 
eighty acres of fine farming land. He was road commissioner and school 
director for several years. 

Charles Spellmeyer was born in Prussia, in 1831. He emigrated to the 
United States in 1853, settling in Putnam county. He moved to this town- 
ship in 1875, settling on section 16, where he became the owner of three hun- 
dred and twenty acres of land. He was married in 1857 to Louisa Kott- 
kamp, by whom he had seven children. 

George ]\Iincii was l)()rn in Tazewell county, Illinois, in 1847. where he 
lived until 1881, when he moved to this township. He became the owner of 
the northeast quarter of section 3, and two hundred and forty acres in section 
22, Lyman township. He was married in 1869. 

Charles Phillips was b(n'n in Lancashire, England, in 1814. He came to 
Philadelphia when ([uite young, where he remained for a short time, then 
moved to the state of Delaware. In 1854 he came to Putnam county, Illinois, 
where he lived for eighteen years, then came to Ford county. He was married 
in 1843. 

Edgar G. Sharp was born in New York in 1833. In 1855 he went to 
Wisconsin, living there three years, then came to Wall township, settling on 
section 30. He was married in 1853 and was the father of eight children. 

James H. Snelling was a native of Illinois. He came to Ford county in 
1877, and settled on section 11. INIr. Snelling was teacher of penmanship for 
many years, he being the finest penman in this part of the state. 


At a meeting of the 1)oai-d of supervisors held September 9, 1867, a peti- 
tion was presented them for the purpose of having a new township erected out 
of that part of the township of Brenton, described as town 25 noi-lh, i-ange 
9 east of the thinl i)riii("ipal meridian. The board finding that the commis- 
sioners had complied with the nHiuirements of the law, granted the petition. 
The township took its name, or was named after its first resident settler, Sam- 
uel Lyman, who settled in tlic northeast corner of" the townshij). <m section 2, 
in the year 1856. The townshi]) is bounded on the nortli l)y Brenton town- 
shi]). on the east by li-o(|uois county, south by Wall township, and on the west 
by Peach Orchard township and the county of Livingston. The first town 


meeting was held iii school district No. 2, on the 7th day of April, and at this 
meeting the following township officers were elected: Samnel Woodward, 
snpervisor; A. M. Haling, town clerk; Daniel Woodward, collector; A. V. Bur- 
cham, assessor; A. V. Burcham, James Roberts and P. S. Gose, highway commis- 
sioners; Samuel Woodward and T. A. Ireland, justices of the peace; Daniel 
Woodward and Daniel Althen, constables. 

At the same meeting, they voted to divide the township into four road 
districts and nine school districts. 

In 1857 a colony of Connecticut people settled in this township, taking 
seven thousand acres. The following men composed the colony: R. A. Hun- 

gerford, S. K. Marston, Dr. Babcock, B. IMarston, Edmond Havens, William 
S. Rossey, William Bentley, Daniel Hutchinson, Enoch Morgan, Moses Morgan, 
Theophilus Morgan, A. C. Maxon, Henry Dennis, Robert Eggleston, Samuel 
Birdsley, I. N. Newton, N. C. Ball, James Sellick, W. S. Larkin, Lyman Peck, 
Reuben R. Pearson. The first child born in the township was Rosa Bushor. 
The first marriage celebrated was in the spring of 1860. James Crow and 
Kate Birdsley were the contracting parties. The first death was Mrs. Henry 
Dennis, who was buried on the A. ]\I. Peck farm, section 4. 

A blacksmith shop was built on section 10, by Sanuiel Birdsley, at an early 

The schoolhouse in district No. 9 was built in 1866, and Miss Anna Cos- 
well was the first teacher. 

The first teacher in school district No. 4 was Effie Maxon. In district 
5, William W. Graham was the first teacher, and IMrs. S. K. Marston in school 

No. 1. 


In 1873 the village suffered a severe loss by fire, but with true American 
enterprise the injured firms rebuilt and now the town is one of the most flour- 
ishing in the county. 

The Methodist church was first started by a Mr. Pierce, a Welshman, who 
lived near Oliver's Grove and preached all over this section of the country in 
private houses and schoolhouses at an early day. The first preacher sent here 
by conference was a Mr. Henry in 1871. He preached in the Graham 
schoolhouse. A Sunday school was organized, with Mr. Van Steenbergh super- 
intendent. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse in Roberts the following 
year. When the hall was built in 1875 services were held there until the 


Methodist Episcopal churcli was dcdiciitcd January 22, 1882, by G. W. Que, 
presiding" elder. 

The Congregational chiiroh was organized in 1875 under the name of the 
First Congregational church of Rolx'rts. A Congregational church organiza- 
tion existed in this township as early as 18(J7. In 1875 two separate bodies 
grew out of the old oiu\ one locating at Thawvillc. Ircuiuois county, aiul the 
other at Roberts. Services wi-re held in the schoolhouse and town hall until 
1879, when stei)s were taken to erect a house of worship, which was completed 
and dedicated tluring tlie summer of 1880. 

A German Evangelical church is located on the northeast (piarter of sec- 
tion .S4. surrounded and supi)orted by a thriving German settlement. 

The following sketches are of early settlers, and some of the prominent 
business men who have lived in Lyman township: 

Samuel, the first settler, was born in Southampton, IMassaehusetts, 
July 16, 1811, and moved to Ford county, Illinois, in 1856. He bought two 
hundred and thirty acres on section 2. Avhere he lived until 1869. He moved 
to Onarga, Inxiuois county, and lived there until his wife died. He then 
came to Paxton and made his home with his son, Samuel B. Lyman, or "Burt" 
as he was familiarly called, who was sheritf of Ford county for eight years. 

James Roberts, farmer, was born in Sussex county, England, 1816. His 
father died when he was eight years old. leaving James to shift for himself 
and earn a penny at anything he could do. In 1843 he married Elizabeth 
(lilbert, of England, by whom he had three children. Mv. Robert came to 
this country in 1851, and to Lyman township, section 32, in 1858, becoming 
the owaier of two hundred acres of land. 

Albert M. Haling was born in Hartford county, Connecticut, September 
30, 1820. He came to Lyman township in 1866, purchasing twelve hundred 
acres of land in fractional scftion ;>, at eight dollars per acre. II(> made a 
resurvey of the section, calling it "Ilaling's Subdivision." He sold it in 
1870 and bought four hundred and eighty acres in sections 10 aiul 11. w'here 
he erected the tinest house in tlie township, which afterward belonged to J. L. 
Shorthose. ]\Ir. Haling was married to Lucy A. Groves, of Ellington, Con- 
necticut, b\' whom he had live childreiL namely: E. S., Frank W., Kate A., 
Clarence A. and Lucy A., all l)()i-n in Connecticut. Mr. Haling was first 
town clerk and second suix'i-visor of the townshi]), and in 1874, was elected 
representative of the eighteenth congressional district of Illinois. 

E. S. IlATiiNG was born in Hartford county, Connecticut, October 4, 1850, 
and came here with his father in A[)ril, 1866. 


Edward Van Steenbergh, one of the most oxtensive farmers of tliis town- 
ship, was born in Ulster county, New York, in 1814. He came to this town- 
ship in 1871, settling on section 28, ownin": six hnndrod and forty acres, and 
annually shipped large quantities of hay to Chicago. 

The IIurst Family is among the earliest settlers of Lyman township. 
Joseph and Mary Hurst came to this country from England in 1847, settling 
in New Jersey, where IMr. Hurst died in 1849. ]\Irs-. Mary Hurst came west 
and settled on section 30, this township. She died in 1875. Helen and Han- 
nali (maiden ladies) afterward owned the old homestead. One of the children, 
Ann, lived in Gloucester, New Jersey. 

William Hurst was l)orn in 1838 and canie to Ford county in 1855, becom- 
ing the owner of land in section 30. He married IMary, daughter of James 

Joseph Hurst was l)orn July 8. 1834, in Edgerton, England. Coming 
to this western country, he settled in Bureau county, Avliere he lived for several 
years and married IMiss Harriett Harvey, by whom he had ten children. Com- 
ing to Lyman township in 1858, he bought two sections of land from the Illi- 
nois Central Railroad Company, but j^oor crops and hard times came and Mr. 
Hurst became very poor. His main dependence was a shot-gun, which was 
taken from him on execution ; the officer, repenting the act, returned the gun. 
]Mr. Hurst often spoke of this, to show the contrast from that day to the day 
when he owned three hundred and twenty acres, one mile from Roberts, under 
excellent cultivation. 

Amos C. IMaxon was born in the town of Lyme, state of Connecticut, in 
1821. At the age of fourteen years, he went on board ship with Captain 
Chadwick, making three voyages a year for seven years He came to Ford 
i.'ounty in 1858, settling on section 14. He was married to Phoebe E. Pierson, 
of Connecticut, in 1851, and six children were b(»rn to them. ]\Ir. ]\Iaxon was 
one of the colony that came to this county from Connecticut. 

M. Cassingham, M. D., was born in JNIuskingum county, Ohio, in 1841. In 
1845, he came to Kendall county. Illinois, living there several years. He moved 
to Grundy county, and later to Ford county, settling at Roberts in 1871. He 
graduated from the Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1874. In 1862 he mar- 
ried Miss Ellen Cullen, of Canada. 

Ora W. Cassingham was born in (irundy count\-, Illinois, in 1854. He 
came to Roberts in 1880, to engage in the drug Inisiness with liis 1)rother. Dr. 
Cassingham. For several years he followed the map publishing lousiness, meet- 


ing with good success. September 26, 1883, lie married Elmira. daughter of 
Lycurgns Burns, of Roberts. 

Charles 0. Hayes, a native of Clinton county, New York, came to Ken- 
dall county, Illinois, in 1855, where he lived until 1861, then moved to McLean 
county. He came to Roberts and opened the Glencoe Hotel in 1881. He 
kept a good hotel and obtained a full share of the traveling public. In 1859 
he was married to Lusina Alford, of Clinton county. New York, by whom he 
had four children. 

Chris Anderson, a native of Scotland, bought a farm in this county in 
1865. He farmed until 1872 and then went into partnership with J. A. Montel- 
ius and George Campbell. In 1874 Mr. Montelius sold out to the other partners, 
who continued doing a general merchandise and grain business. In 1876 
George Campbell went to Piper City and engaged in the banking business, and 
Mr. Anderson remained in Roberts. In 1881 he bought out the banking busi- 
ness of J. B. IMeserve. He was married to INIary jMartin, of ^larshall county, 
Illinois, by whom he had seven children, all girls. 

William B. Flora was born in Campbell county, Kentucky, in 1841. In 
1868 he settled in Iroquois county, Illinois. He opened a store in this place 
in 1872 and, in company with E. O. Newman, carried on a good mercantile bus- 
iness. In 1874 he married ]\Iary Jane Newman, of Kentucky. They had five 
children. Later lie moved to Paxton, where he is and has been county clerk 
for several years. 

E. B. Beighle was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, February 14, 
1836, and came to Lyman township in November, 1869. 

William Hough Bond and James Bond were born in ]\Ianchester, Eng- 
land. William was born February 14, 1841, and James, February 11, 1844. 
William came to Lj'^man township in 1866, and soon afterward engaged in 
farming. They both became the owners of tine farms. 

Charles Ringeisen was born in Germany, July 25. 1844. He came to 
Ford c(mnty in 1881, and became an active farmer in Lyman township. 

Arthur Swanick was born in County ]\Iayo, Iivland, September 16, 1832. 

He came to New York state in 1855; to Illinois in 1862; and to this township 

in 1872, becoming the owner of eighty acres in section 6. 

Patrick McQuillen, a native of Ireland, came to Ford county in 1868, 
and settled in section 32, Lyman township. 

John Hummel was born in Germany, August 7, 1834. He emigrated to 

America and settled in Illinois in 1854; settled in Lyman township in 1869, 

and engaged in farming. 


George E. Reynolds was horn in Knox county, Illinois, November 12, 
1859. He moved to Lyman township in the sprin<? of 1881 and engaged in 
agricultural pursuits. 

Samuel Shute was born in Gloucester county, New Jersey, October 19, 
1821. He moved to this township in 1868 and became the owner of eight hun- 
dred and twenty acres. 

John Roberts was born ]\Iarch 23, 1885, in Sussex county, England. He 
came to this county in 1859 and settled on section 32, Lyman township. 

Nicholas Hummel was born in Germany, September 18, 1836. He came 
to Lyman township and settled on section 5. 

I. C. Newman, a native of Madison county, Ohio, came to Illinois in 1852, 
and to this township in 1867, becoming the owner of a farm in section 8, where 
he engaged in farming and stock-raising. 

Robert H. Gresham was born in Christian county, Kentucky, September 
6, 1848. He came to this state in 1850, and to Ford county in 1882. 

John Crawford was born in Albany county. New York, in 1841. He 
came to the state of Illinois in 1865, and to Ford county in 1871, where ho 
became the owner of a good farm in section 2, Lyman township. 

H. ]\r. Wilcox was born in Stockbridge, Oneida county, New York. He 
left the state and came to Illinois in 1868, becoming the owner of a large farm 
and carrying on a dairy business. 

John Cook was born in Germany in 1843. He emigrated to America in 
1867, and settled in Illinois in 1879, becoming the owner of a fine farm in 
section 13. 

B. F. Iler was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, in 1848. He settled in 
Lyman township in 1874. 

Charles Fellwock, a native of Germany, came to this country to better 
his condition. He settled in Ford county in 1867, becoming the owner of a 
good farm in section 35. 

George Minch was born in Tazewell county, Illinois, in 1847, where he 
lived until 1881, when he moved to Wall to\vnship, where he became the owmer 
of the northeast quarter of section 3 ; also two hundred and forty acres on sec- 
tion 22, this township. He was married in 1869. 

F. W. Halling, traveling salesman, w^as born in Tolland county, Connecti- 
cut, January 13, 1854, and came to Illinois in April, 1866. 

Prince Tobev, born in New York state in 1820, came to Ford county, Illi- 
nois, in 1865. 



Tlie townsliip of ^Foiia was set off from Roo-ers ]\Iareh 2, 1870, being the 
last township organized in the eounty. When first created, it was called Delhi, 
at the suggestion of Supervisor Bishop, of Brenton township^ hut several months 
after was changed to IMona, at the request of the citizens of the township. 

It was so named because many of the inhabitants of said township were 
natives of the Isle of ^lan. Through the kindness of David Keighin, we will 
give a brief sketch of that lonely island : 

The Isle of ]\Ian is situated in the Irish sea. nearly equi-distant from the 
three surrounding countries. Its area is about two lumdred and twenty square 
miles. Two-thirds of the island consists of arable and meadow land, and the 
remainder of heath and moor. The climate is highly salubrious, being exempt 
from oppressive heats in sunnuer and frosts in winter. The eonnnerce is not 
great; the chief article of export is fish (herring) bringing in a clever revenue of 
forty thousand pounds a year. The language of the island is one of the three dia- 
lects of Celtic, which still continues to be spoken there. It is similar to the 
Irish; therefore, the natives of Ireland, the highlanders of Scotland and the 
IManksman have little difficulty in understanding each other. The island is 
divided into six manors, and these subdivided into seventeen parishes. The 
island obtained its name from the original founder and legislator of the island. 
Mannanan IMacLer; the name being contracted to IMannin, and in later years to 
Mann. Mona, wath which Mann is often confounded, is rather a description 
of the island, than. a name. Mona signifies isolated or lonely, and was doubt- 
less applied to the isle by the inhabitants of surrounding countries. 

Mona township is ])ounded on the north hy Rogers township, on the east 
by Iroquois county, south by the township of Fella, and west by Livingston 
county. It is a congressional township, being six miles square. The north 
half is a tine body of undulating prairie land, settled by an excellent class of 
intelligent farmers. 

The southwest part of the township is low, level land wilh deep soil, and 
in dry seasons capable of raising large croi)s of corn, while the ri'nuiimler of 
the township is covered over with a large marsli, called the Vermilion swamps. 
A great part of this has been drained. 

The first settler in jMona was Matthew Faddling. who came here a great 
many years ago, and settled on section 5. Among the early settlers may be 
mentioned Jacob Ilolderman, Louis Falter, Sr., Wright Kemp, M. C. Lewis, 
Daniel Morrical, Thomas Kelly, John Looney, Thomas Ileavysides, Robert 



Lewin, Samuel Dowse, William Cowley, George Sherman, John and William 
Dancer and Henry Benson. 

The first town meeting was held at the house of Thomas Kelly, at which 
time David Keighin w^as elected supervisor. 

The first schoolhouse was built on the northwest quarter of section 32, Belle 
Hose being the first teacher. Schools Nos. 3 and 5 were started abovit the same 

In the spring of 1867 fourteen new dwelling houses were being built in 
the township at the same time. 

The first postoffice was at the house of John F. Bute, named Sugar Loaf, 
the mail coming from Clifton. 

The first religious services in the township were held in school No. 3. The 
Sunday school Avas started by George Sherman, who was the superintendent for 
seven j^ears. 

The town hall on the southeast corner of section 8 was built for the pur- 
pose of holding religious, political, social and literary meetings. In 1876, a 
literary society w^as organized with John A. Scott, president ; David Keighin, 
vice president; A. Anderson, secretary; and M. A. Dinsmore, treasurer, the cen- 
tral object being to cultivate a taste for literature among the residents of the 
township. The exercises of the ^lona Literary Society were somewhat varied; 
the main object being the improvement of the social condition of the com- 
munity. Their efforts were ably seconded by other districts of Ford and 
adjoining counties, and liberal donations were received from Paxton, Piper 
City, Clift(m and other towns. 

The society flourished until the village of Kempton was started in the 
northwest corner of the township, which drew away some of the citizens and 
much of the interest that centered at the hall. 

The first preaching in the township was at the Bute schoolhouse, by Rev. 
]M. C. Lewis, a IMethodist preacher. The society then numbered fourteen 

In 1881 the society erected a churcli in Kempton under the supervision of 
Rev. Joe Bell, pastor, and A. Stuart, R. F. Bell and James Kemp, trustees. The 
new church was dedicated the 28th of April, 1882, by Rev. B. F Tallman. R. 
F. Bell was appointed the first superintendent of the Sunday school. 


Kempton is the only village in the township, a station on the Kankakee & 
Southwestern Railroad. It was laid out in 1878 by Wright Kemj). The rail- 


road company called their station Kempton, in honoi- of ]\Ir. Kemp, who ren- 
dered them excellent service in securing the right of way for the railroad across 
the township. 

J. W. Brown built the first frame house in the village. 

J. E. Seyster was the first station agent. 

The following is a In-ief mention of some ui the early settlers and leading 
men who lived in IMona township: 

David Keighin, a native of the Isle of ^lan. came to Tennessee in 1848. and 
to this township from Peoria in 18G9. He became the owner of a fine farm 
of four hundred and eighty acres on section 11. In connection with his farm, 
he, with his son Charles, engaged in the grain business in Kempton. Mr. 
Keighin was elected the first supervisor of Mona, which office he held for several 

Thomas Kelly came from the Isle of Man in the spring of ISIO, in the 
same ship with David Keighin. He moved to this township in 1867, coming 
from Galva, Henry county. In reviewing the lives of successful men, how 
true do we find in nearly every instance, that hard work, economy and industry 
have biid the foundation of future prosperity. ]\Ir. Kelly was no exception 
to tliis rule, and after hard work, acquired six hundred and forty acres of 

Joseph McKinney, a son of Archibald McKinney, is one of the early set- 
tlers of Brenton towaiship. Mr. IMcKinney came to Kempton in 1880, and 
bought out the hardware store and lumberyard of John IMcKinney, who after- 
ward engaged in business in Piper City. 

Samuel Dowse came to this township in 1868, settling on section 8. He 
became tlie ownin- of three liundred and sixty acres of fine land, with good 
improvements. He was assessor for six years, and also held the office of jus- 
tice of the peace. 

Louis Falter, jr., was born in Ohio. He came to Mona township in 1869. 
He became the OAvner of three hundred and twenty acres on section 4. 

John Looney, a native of the Isle of ]\Ian, became the owner of two hundred 
and forty acres of excellent land. 

John A. Scott, a native of Washington coiinly. I'ciiiisylvania, came to this 
township in 1870, and settled on secticm 9. 

Henry Benson left England in 1854 and came to Kendall i-ounty, Illinois, 
then to this townshi}) in 1867, settling on section 1. 

John and William Dancer came from Will county before the township 
was settled- with large droves of cattle to hertl on the Vermilion swamps during 


the siininier. Tliey herded as many as a thousand head that were placed under 
their care in a season. In 1873 they came here to live and became the owners 
of four hundred and eighty acres of land. John Dancer was one of the drain- 
age commissioners of the special Vermilion ditch. 

Frank Drendel was horn in Germany in 1838. He came to the United 
States in 1865, and to section 21, Mona township, in 1868. 

Robert Lewin, a native of the Isle of Man, came here in 1868, and became 
the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of land. 

Daniel Morrical Avas l)orn in Laurel Hill, Virginia, in 1836. He moved to 
Ohio, then lived in Indiana twenty-two years, and finally settled in Ford county 
in 1869. He held the office of justice of the peace, and was school director for 
several years. 

George Essington, a native of England, came to this township in 1871, set- 
tling on section 1. 

John Sutton was born in England in 1835. He left there in 1858, settling 
first in New York state, then moved to Grundy county, Illinois, where he 
remained some ten years. He enlisted in the Ninety-first Illinois Regiment, 
and was in the service three years. He moved to section 3, Mona township, 
in 1869. 

John Thorndyke was born in England. He came to this township from 
Grundy county, in 1882, becoming the owner of the northwest cpiarter in 
section 31. 

James E. Farley was born in Pennsylvania, and came here in 1875, becom- 
ing the owner of two hunderd and forty acres on section 5. At one time he 
was assessor. 

James Kemp was born in Kendall county, Illinois, in 1853, being the son 
of Wright Kemp who afterward moved to Kankakee City. 


Rogers township is the extreme north township of the county, bounded on 
the north by Kankakee county, on the east by Iroquois, on the south by Mona 
township and on the west by Livingston county. 

It derived its name from Jeremy W. Rogers, its first supervisor. This 
township was originally called Grant, and when organized composed the present 
townships of Mona and Rogers. 

A petition from the citizens of Grant to the board of supervisors to change 
the name to Rogers was granted in the spring of 1864. 


This is considered the ])est township in the county, with at least seventy- 
five per cent of the area, suitabh' and adapted to fanning purposes, that can 
l)e made to produce excellent crops. 

Tt is peopled with industrious, enterprisintr and prou'ressive farmers, show- 
inu' ninny well improved farms. 

Among tlie early settlers were Jeremy AV. Rogers. AVilliam Atherton, Jared 
Williams, James Clayton, Henry Clayton, John Clayton, William Clayton, 
]\rary Clayton. James Taylor, Edward Clayton, Samuel Clayton, Peter Taylor, 
David Rogers, A. Saddler, Peter Minich, Abraham Cook, D. and S. Burroughs, 
William Bouk, N. Wagner, Samuel C. Farley, Charles Shumacher, Wright 
Kemp, George Hargreaves, Jacob Hare, J. C. Eldridge, E. Quayle, D. F. Bren- 
isa, D. B. Case and J. Broadbent. 

The first church l)uilt in the township was the Catholic church in Cabery. 

The next cluirch was built at Eldridgeville by the ]\Iethodists. 

In 1878 the Germans erected a chapel on Henry Clayton's land, called 
The Church of God. J. M. Castle was the first German preacher. 

The first postoffice was at Eldridgeville. with John Eldridge as postmaster, 
although at an early date the farmers took turns in bringing the mail from 
Dwight, which was left at Jared Williams' house. 

The first schoolhouse was built on the farm owned by George Riggs and i\Iiss 
Laura Cook, who afterward liecame ]Mrs. Charles Bouk, was the first teacher. 


Cabery is the principal village in Rogers township, situated on tlie middle 
division of the Illinois Central or Kankakee & South Western Railroad. It 
lies on the county line, the largest half in Rogers to^^^^ship. which was first 
laid out. It was incorporated as a village in the fall of 1881 and contains stores 
of various kinds and a newspaper called the Cabery Enterprise. There is a 
public hall and one ]\Iasonic hall. The place is a wide-awake, go-ahead one, 
containing a class of good cili/.ciis, who heartily niiile ui)on any cnter])rise or 
iiiipi'ovciiiciit for flic public good. 

The supervisors of the townsliip have been Jeremy W. Rogers, 18()4; John 
C. Eldridge, 1866; D. B. Case, 1867; Edward Clayton, 1868; Thomas Winstanley, 
1872; SmiuucI Clayton. 187:5; James Ogilvie, 1876; W. V>. Sargeanf, 1881; re- 
elected 1882 and 188:^ 

The following is a brief mention of some of the old settlers who have lived 
and are still living in Rogers township: 


Peter Taylor, a native of IMorgau county, Ohio, came to Rogers township in 
1865, settling on section 35. 

Frank ]\[. Cook was born at Elkhart county, Indiana. He came to this 
township in 1864. settling on a tine farm one mile from Cabery. 

James Ogilvie. a native of Licking county- Ohio, coming to this townshij) in 
1866 ; he settled on section 22. 

Samuel Clayton, a native of Enghmd, came to Rogers township in 1865, 
settling on section 33. 

James Clayton, a native of Chester, England, came to this country in 18-I-9. 
and to Rogers township in 1868, settling on a fine farm in section 31. lie laid 
out a part of the village of Kempton, called Clayton's Addition. 

David Huntley, a native of NewYork, came to this township in 1859. and 
became the owner of two hundred and forty acres in Ford county, and eighty 
acres, the home place, just over the line in Livingston county. 

George Hargreaves was born in England, coming to America in 1854; he 
first settled in Kendall county, Illinois. In 1867 he moved to this township, 
settling on section 36. 

W. B. Sz\rgeant, a native of England, came to Cabery in 1865, being engaged 
in the hardware business. 

James F. Wright was born in St. Lawrence county. New York, in 1840. He 
came to Cabery in 1876 and engaged in the lumber business. 

Andrew^ Stuart, a farmer, native of Canada, settled in Grundv countv. Illi- 
nois in 1843. He enlisted in the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois 
Volunteers in 1862, remaining in the field until the war was over. 

JosHi'A Henthron came to this county from England in 1856. He settled 
on section 28. Rogers township. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of 
good land from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. 

Frank ]\IcLaughlin was born in Grundy county in 1853. He came to this 
township in 1880. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Clayton, in 1874. 

Frank Stuart, son of Andrew Stuart. Avas born in Livingston county in 
1856. He married Alice, a daughter of Henry Clayton. 

John and Alfred Clayton, sons of Henry Clayton, were born in Chester 
county, Pennsylvania. John came to this township in 1865, and Alfred in 1868, 
])oth owning homes on section 25. 

Charles Curd was born in the county of Kent. England. He came to 
America in 1846 and to section 20, this township in 1876. 

William Naas, a native of Germany, came to this township in 1870, locating 
on section 29. 


In 1865, Mrs. Priscilla Taylor, widow of James Taylor, deceased, together 
with Samuel and Edward Clayton, Peter Taylor and others, came from Ohio to 
Rogers township, Mrs. Taylor with her children, residing on section 35. 

IMrs. Elizabeth Clayton, widow of William Clayton, an early settler, came 
to Rogers township from Noble county, Ohio, residing in a beautiful home on 
their farm on section 27. 


On Sunday morning, May 3, 1885, Cabery was visited by a disastrous fire, 
and the town was almost obliterated by the flames. Twenty-four business 
houses and fourteen dwellings went up in smoke. The total loss was estimated 
at one hundred thousand dollars, with about twenty-five thousand dollars insur- 
ance. The village was without fire protection, and no aid from other towr.s 
could l)e secured in time to stay the devouring flames. The fire originated in 
a millinery store at 3 o'clock in the morning. Several guests w^ere in the 
Commercial Hotel, which was destroyed, and barely escaped with their lives. 


September 15, 1868, a petition was presented to the board of supervisors, 
asking their aid in creating a new township out of the township of Di\. com- 
posed and described as the east two-thirds of the north half of town 24 north, and 
the south half of town 25 north, in range 8 east, "and on motion of Supervisor 
Davis, it was ordered by the board that said territory be and is hereb}^ set off in 
accordance with the prayer of said petition ; and it is further ordered that the 
territory set oft" shall l)e known and designated as Peach Orchard." 

In 1855 Joshua T. Nicholson planted one thousand peach trees on the south- 
west quarter of section 21, town 25 north, range 8 east. This large orchard was 
cultivated for about twelve years, when the trees died and were never replaced. 
This is how the township came to be named Peach Orchard. 

William 1>. Holmes, Joshua T. Nicholson, Elick Nicholson, Alexander 
Nicholson and David Spencer were the early settlers of this township until the 
fall of 1867, when the township was rapidly settled up. Among those coming 
were John lelil, the Hunt family, G. and J. Dixon, John Wilson, Joshua TTm- 
barger, John Coiiiiift', W. B. Knight, George and William Foster, G. and O. 
Defriese, A. IlcUmaii, Joseph Fletcher, John and William Boiiiidy. Roliei'l. 
Ashley, P. Brady. Williaiti Underwood, Michael Sdiills, Ed McKaiin.i. Henry 

V *V-'i' 



Rowc-liff, Georue ami T. Arends, Charles Gardner, Isaac C. Day, T. D. Thompson, 
William Frazius, William Lackey, George Phillips, Lot Robb, T. and J. Mc- 
Laughlin and John Thaekery. 

The first school building in this township was the "Grand Prairie" (No. 8), 
although a year or so before this was built an old building was moved into the 
township from Wall and used for school purposes. It was called the "Black 
College." The first teacher was Robert Hutchinson. 

The first marriage occurred in this township in 1857, the contracting parties 
being Elick Nicholson and INIiss Margaret Scott. Charles Rodenhour was the 
first person wlio died. He was buried on section 'A. in the fall of 1858. 

On ]\Iay 20th, 1857, ]\Iiss Fanny A. Holmes, daughter of Squire Holmes, 
was born, the first child in Peach Orchard. She became the wife of Paul 

This toAvnship has a railroad diagonally across it, originally known as the 
Oilman, Clinton & Springfield, now the Springfield Division of the Illinois 
Central. The township took twenty-three thousand dollars of stock, issuing 
bonds therefor for twenty years, drawing ten per cent interest. The road was 
completed in 1871 and trains were running that winter. 

D. K. Pearson, of Chicago, owned the east tier of sections in this township, 
and one day in November he came down here and sold the entire tier of sections ; 
the average price paid was eight dollars and fifty cents per acre. 


Melvin, named after the president of the (Jilman, Clinton & Springfield 
Railroad, is the only village in the township. It was surveyed and laid out at 
the request of Enoch Hunt, and includes about sixty-five acres. It is situated 
on the south half of the northwest quarter of section 1, and contains a fine school 

T. D. Thompson was the first station agent, and built the first house in the 


John Lyer was the first postmaster and opened the first general store in tho 


In 1905 a graded school building was erected at a cost of fifteen thousand 

The following is a brief mention of the early settlers and leading citizens 
who have lived in Peach Orchard township : 


William B. Holmes was born in England in 1820. He emigrated to 
America in 1849, landing in New York. He went to Fond du Lac county, 
Wisconsin, where he remained about three years. He then moved to Georgetown, 
Vermilion county, Illinois, and worked at the carpenter's trade for several 
years, then moved to what is now Peach Orchard township in April, ]855, set- 
tling on a farm which he afterward owned. He built the first house and turned 
the first furrow in this township. In 1860 the Prince of Wales' suite — Captain 
Carter, Hon. C. A. Ellis, now Duke of Rutland, and a German connected with 
the Royal family, with their servants, — were in this part of the country hunting 
and spent several days with ]\Ir. Holmes. He was married December 2G, 181:4, 
to Miss Eliza Wren, of Yorkshire, England. Mr. Holmes had the office of super- 
visor, assessor and justice of the peace. 

Thomas D. Thompson was born in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1847, where he 
resided until 1864. He then moved to Illinois, and in 1868 settled in Ford 
county and was the first station agent at IMelvin. He engaged in the grocery 
and dry-goods business and was postmaster of Melvin. Mr. Tlionipson always 
took a lively interest in the liuilding up of the churches and schools in this place. 
Later, he moved to Paxton, where he is and has been circuit clerk for a number 
of years. 

Enoch S. Hunt was born in ]\Iarshall county, Illinois, in 1833. He moved 
to La Salle county in 1847, and lived there until 1868, when he moved to Ford 
county. In 1854 he was married to ]\Iiss Mary Griffen. ]\Ir. Hunt was instru- 
mental in starting the village of Melvin and in securing the railroad across the 

William S. Larkin was born in Rhode Island, March 5, 1826. He came 
to Ford county from Connecticut in 1857, settling in Lyman township. After- 
Avard he engaged in business with his son-in-law in Melvin. 

Edw^vrd S. Jenkins was born in Chester county, Pennsylv;ini;i, July 4, 
1842. He moved to INIarshall county, Illinois, in 1849, where he lived on a farm 
until the breaking out of the Civil war. He enlisted in the Ninth Illinois 
Infantry, remaining in the service until the war closed, when he was lionorably 
discharged and returned to his farm. He married Miss Sarali Robinson, of 
Canada, and moved to Peach Orchard township. After farming for several 
years, he moved to Melvin and opened a meat mai'ket. 

Augustus P. Gould was l)orn in KciHhiil county, Illinois, OctobiM- 5. 1848. 
He lived there until 1858, when he moved lo Dwight, Livingston county, farm- 
ing, attending sclio<tl and clerking in a store until eighteen yeai's passed away, 


when he moved to JMelvin and built and opened a .store of <?eneral merchandise. 
He was married, October 16, 1878, to IMaggie E. Wolverton, of Pontiac. 

Edward G. Collins, born in Herkimer county, New York, September 22, 
1851. His i)arents died when he \vas a young man. After learning the har- 
nessmaker's trade and being anxious to establish himself in business, came west 
and settled in Melvin, where he carried on business with success. In 1876 he 
was married to Martha M. Shute. 

John S. Hunt came to this place in 1867. becoming the owner of a fine farm 
of six hundred acres. He was first collector of the township, also served two 
terms as supervisor and was school director for many years. He was one of the 
trustees of the IMethodist church, to which he contributed largely. He always 
took an active part in all affairs of school, church or township. 

John Iehl was born in the province of Alsace, France, in 1839. When 
eleven years old he, with his parents, came to America and settled in Lake county, 
Illinois, and engaged in farming. When he became of age he started in life 
for himself, going to INIarshall county, Illinois, and working on a farm. In 
1867 he bought the northwest quarter of section 28, Peach Orchard, and farmed 
it until 1873, when he bought the grain elevator in IMelvin and carried on the 
grain business with great success. In 1871 he married Miss Mary Arends. In 
1881 Mr. Iehl was elected supervisor of the township, which office he held for 
several years. 

W. T. Gash was born in England, June 3, 1837, where he lived until he was 
t\venty-one years old, then came to America and began farming in Henry county, 
Illinois. In 1869 he came to Peach Orchard and located in section 23. In 1874 
he married Miss Sarah A. Bevins. 

JosiAH Umbarger, a native of Pennsylvania, was born in 1834. and at the 
age of ten years came west with his parents to Putnam county, Illinois. In 
1860 he married Miss Jane Allen. 

Gerhard Depries was born in Germany in 1827. At the age of twenty- 
seven years he came to America and landed in New Orleans. He bought a farm 
in Peach Orchard in the spring if 1868. In 1857 he married Miss Ilissky 
Hilmers, by whom he had eight children. 

Henry Rowclippe was born in England in 1843. He settled in Ford 
county in 1869, on section 33. In 1859 he married Martha Dunn, of England. 
His second wife was Sarah Bell. 

Wn.LLVM Cooper was born in England in 1830. He came to America in 
1862. lie learned the tailoring trade. He came to Peach Orchard township 


from Fairbury, Illinois, and went to fannin<:'. In ^S'^') he married INIiss Eliza- 
beth Cole, by whom he had seven children. 

WiLLizVM BouNDY WHS born in England, October 30, 1832. He emigrated 
to America in 1857, first settling in New York state. He came to Peach Orchard 
township from Peoria county, Illinois, in 1871. He was married to Elizabeth 
Hill, of England, March 27, 1853, by whom he has six children. 

William Foster was ])orn in Rochester eonnty. New York, in 1833. He 
came west and settled in Ford county in 1865. He was married in 1859 to Miss 
Sarah Gill. 

John Karsten, a native of Germany, where he worked on a farm for twenty- 
four years, came to America in 1866 and settled in jMarshall county, Illinois. 
In 1876 he came to Peach Orchard township. In 1867 he was married to 
Sophia Hose. He became the owner of two hundred acres of land, finely 

A. BucKHOLZ. a native of Germany, who came to this country in 1852. work- 
ing at various places for a number of years. He finally settled in section 1, in 
1867. In 1855 he married Miss Caroline Funte, by whom he had eight children. 
He became the owner of seven liundred and twenty acres of land in this townshi]i, 
with excellent improvements. 

Henry Spellmeyer was born in Germany, 1840. He emigrated to America 
with his sister in 1858, first settling in ]\Iarshall county; then, in 1868, came to 
Peach Orchard township. In 1868 he married ]\Iiss Louisa Steinman, by whom 
he had five children. 

John Tiiackery was born in England, 1834, where he lived until 1865. 
When he came to this country and settled in Putnam coiuity, Illinois, when^ he 
lived for several years. He then came to Ford county and located in this town- 
ship. In March, 1865, he married Catharine Pliillii)s, by whom he had six 
children. Mr Thackery became the owner of four hundred and eighty acres 
of good land in Peach Orchard. 

William D. Spencer, son of David Spencer, who was born in Vei'mont in 
1811 and came to Vermilion county, Illinois, in 1841, and bought four huiulred 
acres of land, which he worked several years, then moved to Georgetown, same 
county, and engaged in stock-raising, which he followed for a time. In the 
spring of 1855 he settled in Peach Orchard. He died in 1857. Our subject 
was born in 1855, in Georgetown, Vermilion county, Illinois, and came with his 
parents to this township. He was nuirried to Miss Emma J. Tei-ry, of St. Louis. 
Aft('i'\vni-d ]\lr. Spencer prepared himself for the ministry. 


Thomas IVIcLaughlin was born in the north of Ireland in 1829. He 
emigrated to America in 1848, when he settled on a farm in La Salle connty, 
Illinois, and lived there for six years, then came to this township. lie became 
the owner of the southeast quarter of section 86, one-half mile from Melvin. 

George F. Forney was born in Putnam county, Illinois, in 1845. At the; 
age of twenty-two years he married Eliza S. Allen, of Pennsylvania, by whom he 
had four children. lie settled in Peach Orchard township in 1870. He was 
town clerk for three years. 

Peter Conniff was born in Ireland. At the age of six years he came to 
America with his mother and settled on a farm in New Jersey. He remained in 
that state about twenty years, then came to Henry county, Illinois. He settled 
in this township in 1857. In 1861 he enlisted in the Fourth New Jersey Regi- 
ment and was in the service until the close of the war. 

David Thompson was l)orn in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1841. In 1868 
he enlisted in the Seventh Illinois Volunteers. He settled in Ford count.y 
in 1869, on section 23. He married Margaret Frazer in 1865. 

James Dixon was born in ]\Ianchester, England, in 1836. In 1861 he 
enlisted in the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers and remained in the service until 
1863, when he was honorably discharged and returned to Marshall county, 
Illinois. In 1867 he married Miss Jane E. Hunt, by whom he had seven children. 
Patrick Goggins, a native of the Emerald isle, came to America in 1846 antl 
first settled in La Salle county, Illinois. After living there twelve years, he 
moved to Ford county. He married IMiss Catharine Clark in 1863, and to them 
were born three children. 

W. J. Hunt was born in IMarshall county, Illinois, in 1841. He remained 
there twenty-one years, working on his father's farm, then moved to La Salle 
county, Illinois. In 1861 he enlisted in the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois 
Regiment and was in the service several years. He then returned to his old 
home in La Salle county, where he remained until 1872, when he moved to Peach 
Orchard township. 

John M. Thompson was born in Noble county, Ohio, April, 1837. He 
lived there several years, then settled in Belmont county and taught school for 
four years; also attended the academy at Belmont. In 1864 he settled in 
Grundy county, Illinois, remaining there a short time, then moved to IMarshall 
county, and after living there three years he went to Woodford county and 
bought a farm and worked it for four years. He then sold out and came to 
Peach Orchard township in the fall of 1872, and engaged in general merchandis- 
ing. He soon sold out to his brother and engaged in the sale of agricultural 


iinplement.s and luiuber. In 1861 lie was married to ]\Iis,s Jane Day, of Belmont 
county, Ohio. 


This township was organized September 9, 1867. It originally formed a 
part of Dix township, and upon a petition being presented to the board of super- 
visors at their September meeting, in 1867. "to create a new town out of that 
part of Dix, to be known as Sullivant," they granted the petition, and Sullivant 
township was formed. This township is six miles north and soulli and nine 
miles east and west. The land is the highest in the state between Lake iMiehigan 
and the Mississippi river, as will be seen by the map, showing that many streams 
have their source in this part of the state. The soil is of good quality. 

The history of this township can be nothing else but the history of a farm, 
for that is what it was. ]\Iost of the land in this township was entered or i)ur- 
chased by ^Michael L. Sullivant during 1854. who improved the laud and operated 
it as an innnense corn farm up to 1876, when he disposed of it to Mr. Iliram 
Sibley, of Rochester, New York. This was undoul)tedly the largest corn farm 
in the world under one man's management. He was a leading man in the 
township, and lived in a beautiful grove called Burr Oaks, near the center of the 
townshi]). Afti^r ]\Ir. Sililev took possession of the farm he rented out most of 
the land, and for the accommodation of his renters, erected substantial dwelling 
houses on nearly every c^uarter section. 


This beautiful village, originally named Burr Oaks, is situated on the 
Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad. The original town of Burr Oaks was 
surveyed and laid out by John R. Lewis, in February, 1877, for ]M. L. Sullivant, 
in the northwest quarter of section 32. In 1880. Sibley's addition was laid off, 
and the name changed to Sibley to conform with the I'ailroad station and llie 
postoffice. But few buildings had been erected here previous to 1878. when 
iNIr. Si])ley organized a system of improvt'ments, and a nuiiiher of dwelling 
houses were erected, a hotel, the largest and best iu the county at that time, a 
large seed barn, flax mill, stores, offices and numerous other buildings. A large 
commodious grain elevator was erected by Mr. Sullivant. 

The beautiful schoolhouse. which is the ])ride of the town, was erected in 
1882, at a cost of six thousand dollars. 


| n y ; p ^ |^^ g^g gg r q^ y7 ^ ^^^ 



Although a town of but a few years' growth, the enterprise of its people is 
shown by the graded streets, good sidewalks, a park and hundreds of trees. 


This township was at one time a part of Stockton townshij), the latter being 
organized when Ford was a part of Vermilion county, and at that time com- 
prised the present townships of Rogers, Mona. Pella, Brenton and Lyman. 

The name of Stockton was changed to Brenton March 7, 1864, and embraced 
the townships of Lyman, Brenton and Pella. As the country became more 
thickly settled, Lyman and Pella were set off, leaving the present township of 
Brenton, which comprises thirty-six sections of land. 

In 1856, John R. Lewis, IMark Parsons and S. Standish were the first perma- 
nent settlers of the township. ]Mr. Lewis built the first house in the township, 
on the northwest corner of section 22. In the fall of 1856, Peter Van Antwerp, 
George Benford. W. T. Reed, John E. Davis, T. W. Pope, Frederick Chambers, 
the Jeifreys and A. J. Bartlett came. In 1857, came the Cross and IMcKinney 
families. Ira Z. Condon, W. W. Wicks, Aaron Sehofield and Conrad Volp. In 
1858, Joseph Davis, L. T. Bishop, Thomas Hahn, Jacob Titus, IMerritt Free, 
Peter Rouse and Benjamin Ilobbis, settled here. In 1860 came William L. 
Conrow. "SI. P. Sherwood, James Free, T. Jones, and in 1863, Jacob Lippeneott, 
W. S. Thompson, Henry Patterson, Robert Wilson, D. E. ^liddleton and Joseph 

The settlei's of the township were nearly all eastern men. 

The first birth in Brenton was Hattie B.. daughter of A. J. Bartlett, on the 
1-lth of June, 1857. The second birth was a son of John R. Lewis, August 4; 
and, August 26, Mark Parsons was blessed with a son. 

The first death was Captain ]\Iack, wlio, with his young wife, came to Illinois 
from the east in search of a better climate for his health, but, growing worse 
instead of better, he sold out his property to W. W. Wicks and started for his 
eastern home. He got as far as Onarga, where he died and was buried. The 
first marriage in the new settlement was in 1859, between Charles Phelps and 
Miss ]\Iary A. Davis. 

The first school was started by John R. Lewis, and taught by IMiss Annie 
E. Ilobbis, of Onaraga, who remained a teacher for a number of years. 

The first election after Brenton was organized was held at district school- 
house No. 1 (the Wagner school). 


There were regular religious meetings held at settlers' houses every Sun- 
da\', being conducted principally by A. IMcKinney, Robert Hall and Henry 

The following are the names of those who went from the Pan Handle to 
the Civil war and returned safely: A. S. Bavouse. Fred Foot, Henry Phelps, 
R. A. Pope, Robert Ferris, Jacob Brown, Ed Kent, INIr. Stoneback, James 
Feeley, H. Eccleston, D. Kingsley, Morris Burt, John Haven, Ed Haven, Albert 
Holmes, B. Lyman. 

Killed or missing, Thomas Hahn and Joseph Law. 

The first schoolhouse built was the Wagner schoolhouse, in the southeast 
quarter of section 28. 

The railroad through this township was built in 1857, first called the east- 
ern extension of the Peoria & Oquawka Railroad, afterward the Logansport, 
Peoria & Burlington, then shortly after changed to the Toleda, Peoria & War- 
saw, and now the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad. It runs in an east 
and west direction across the north tier of sections of this township. 


Piper City is the principal village in the Pan Handle, and the third village 
in population in Ford county. It was laid out in section 4, Brenton town- 
ship, by H. J. Howe, county surveyor, for Dr. William A. Piper, of Philadel- 
phia, Pennsylvania, and Samuel Cross, of Chicago, in 1867. The village lies 
on both sides of the Wabash Railroad. 

John Allen and W. C. Jones opened the first store in the new village in 
the summer of 1867. 

Soon after Dr. Piper and J. A. IMontelius opened a general store. The 
postoffice was established in John R. Lewis' house, and he was appointed first 
postmaster. The first station agent was John Allen. The station was then 
called New Brenton. The United Presbyterian church was l)uilt in 1869. The 
next one erected was the Presbyterian in 1872. The Catholic church was built 
in 1880, and the Methodist in 1881. 

Mrs. McElhiney taught the first school in Piper City in the building after- 
ward occupied as an office by Montelius & Brother. 

The Piper City Dairy Association was incorporated in 1881, with Joseph 
liiu'gcr, i)resident; J. A. Montelius, secretary and treasurer; E. II. Brooks, 
manager; and Joseph Burger, J. A. Montelius, E. II. Brooks, John McKinney, 
Columbus Jennings, John Clark and B. F. Church, directors. 


The following are sketches of the early settlers and business men who lived 
in Brentoii township : 

John R. Lewis was born in Herkimer county, New York, June 6, 1828, 
where he lived until April 16, 1850. He spent his childhood years upon a 
farm and attending school. One of his schoolmates was the Hon. A. H. Pres- 
(ott, at one time judge of Herkimer county. New York. Mr. Lewis taught 
school several winters, and then came west in 1856, and settled in this town- 
ship, being the first permanent settler. INIark Parsons came one day later. ]Mr. 
Lewis practically sold most of the lands in Brenton and Pella townships as 
agent for the Illinois Central Railroad lands. He was the first justice of the 

peace, first police magistrate, third supervisor and first postmaster of I'iper 

The second permanent settler of Brenton was Mark Parsons, who was l)()rn 
in Bennington, Vermont, May 13, 1823, where he lived until seventeen years 
of age, working on a farm in the summer, and attending school during the win- 
ter. When al)out twenty-three years old, he married Miss Jane E. Crossett, 
and with his young wife, moved to Will county, Illinois. In 1856, he came to 
Ford county and settled in this township. He built his house on the south- 
west r(uarter of section 3-4. 

Archibald McKinney was liorn in Ireland Mny 2, 1802, where he lived 
until 1848, when he emigrated to America and settled in Philadelphia. He 
worked in a factory there for ten years. In 1858, he came to Ford county, 
settling on section 20 of this township. Mr. McKinney was married in 1832. 

• John INIcKinney, son of Archibald McKinney, was born in Ireland in 1833. 
He came to this country with his parents in 1848. Mr. IMcKinney learned the 
carpenter's trade, and worked at it for many years. When Piper City was 
started, he moved from his home in Brenton township and went into the lum- 
ber business, and in course of time started a hardware store. 

William Carpenter was born in Rhode Island February 22, 1811- where he 
lived continuously for fifteen years ; then moved to Herkimer county. New York. 
Here he lived until 1867 ; then moved to Ford county, and settled in Brenton 
township. In 1833 he married Ann Eliza Randall, a native of Rhode Island. 

Abner McLaughlin came to this township in 1861, and settled on section 5, 
In 1865 he was united in marriage to ]\Iiss IMargaret IMcKinney, daughter of 
Archibald McKinney, an old settler of this township. I\Ir. McLaughlin used 
to teach school in winter and work on his farm in the sunnner. He was school 
treasurer for many years, and always took an active interest in all ])ublic 


Samuel D. Culbertson, physician and surfreon. was born in Cumberland 
county. Pennsylvania. September 5. 1839. Here he lived for twelve years, 
attending- school and helping on a farm. When eighteen years old. he began 
teaching school, and taught until the Civil war broke out. when he joined the 
army. After the war, he began the stud^' of medicine, and in 1866 graduated 
from the Jefferson Medical College in Philadeljihia. He came to Piper City 
in 1867, and began the practice of his chosen profession, in which he met with 
success. He also engaged in the drug business. Dr. Cul])ertson was married 
in 1866 to ]\Iiss Clara Kate Culver. 

Joseph Burger was born in Baden, German\-. He came to this county in 
1868, settling on section 2, this township. 

John C. Culver was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, in May, 
184:8. In 1865, he went to Cincinnati, thence to Leavenworth, Kansas, and to 
the Indian territory, riding pony express from Fort Wallis to Denver; then 
was government scout through southern Kansas, Indian Territory and New 
Mexico. He served under William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) he being the chief 
scout. After being there several years, he came back and settled in Piper 
City, and went into the drug business. In 1880 he sold out and engaged in 
the grain business in this village. ]Mr. Culver was coroner of Ford county 
for two years. In 1872, he married Clara D. Fairley. of Lyman township. 

James P. ]\IcDanel was born in Butler county, Ohio, where he lived until 
ten years old; then he came with his parents to Illinois. In 1862. he married 
Miss Kate Huddleson, of Randolph county. Illinois. When he came to Piper 
City, he engaged in the hardware and furniture business. He soon sold out, 
and began farming and teaching. He was town clerk for many years. 

Henry Allnutt, a native of England, was publisher and proprietor of the 
Piper City Advertiser. He came to Ford county, and located on a farm in 
Pella township in 1869. In 1873 he moved to town, and soon started the 
Advertiser. He married Adda, daughter of Joseph Carpenter. 

Ephrlvm H. Brooks was born in Steuben county, New York, in 1837, where 
he lived for eleven years; then moved to Livingston county. New York, where 
he attended school and helped in his father's store until 1857, when he came 
to Woodford county. Illinois. In the spring of 1861 he settled in Brenton 
township, section 6, and began farming. When lie came to Pipci- City he 
began work in the creamery, and afterwartl was manager. He was married to 
Miss Elizabeth Russell in 1868. 

Conrad Rohrback, a native of Germany, where he was born February 27» 
1821. He lived there until thirteen vears old. then came to this countrv and 



settled in Tazewell county, Illinois, where he remained for about fifteen years. 
In 1859, ho located on section 26, Brenton township. In 1843 he married Annie 
M-dv Dinuledine. 

James McBride, farmer, was horn in Ireland in 1842; soon after, he came 
with his parents to Belmont county, Ohio, where he lived until the breaking out 
of the Civil war. when he enlisted and served until its close. He was honorably 
discharged at Washington, District of Columbia, and returned to the peaceful 
pursuits of a farmer's life. In the spring of 1869 he came to Ford county, 
and settled on section 31, on a fine farm of four hundred acres. In 1869 he 
married Miss Clara Strank. 

Michael Cross was l)orn in England in 1830. He remained there for 
twenty-four years, working at the blacksmith trade. In 1854 he came to 
America, and two years later settled in this township, residing on section 18. 
lie was married in 1867 to Catharine Mitchinson. 

AViLLiAM Corey, stock-raiser and farmer, was born in Washington county, 
Rhode Island, in 1824. He came to La Salle county in 1865, and to Brenton 
township in 1867, and settled on the northwest quarter of section 17. In 1859 
he married ]\Iiss Ruth Wilcox. 

Thomas Cue, a native of England, where he was born August 12, 1836. 
In 1853 he came to America, and settled in Woodford county, Illinois. He 
lived there until 1870, when he came and settled in Brenton township. In 
1871 he was united in marriage with Victoria Arrowsmith. 

John C. Steen was born in Adams county, Ohio, in 1837. In 1863 he 
"moved to La Salle county, Illinois, where he remained several years ; then moved 
to Chatsworth, and in 1873 came to Brenton township, and settled on section 15. 

John Goodman w^as born in Huntingshire, England, July, 1818. He came 
to this country in 1852? and settled in Erie county, Ohio ; after living there four 
years, he moved to Ford county, Illinois, and settled on section 30. In 1852, 
he married Sarah Bellamy, of England. 


John A. Montelius established his bank in Piper City in 1870. The per- 
sonnel of the bank's directory was as follows, with no change up to this time: 
John A. Montelius, John IMcKinney, J. K. Montelius, R. A. Jennings, James 
McBride, J. A. Cook, D. A. Boal, Abner IMcLaughlin, W. 0. IMcKinney. Capi- 
tal, fifty thousand dollars ; surplus, ten thousand dollars. 


J. C. Ciilbertson established his bank in 1901. Capital, fifteen thousand 

Recently, a new graded school building was erected, at a cost of twelve 
thousand dollars. 

Piper City has one liotel, much praised by the traveling public. The host 
is A. C. :\liller. 

In 1891 the electric light plant was ])uilt l)y A. A. Blair. It is now t)wned 
and conducted by Charles and David Wliite. 

The Piper City Telephone and Telegraph Company got its start from a 
private line. It now covers the county, and has connections with the county 


Piper Lodge, No. 608, A. F. & A. I\I. ; I. 0. 0. F., Piper Lodge, No. 471 ; 
M. W. A., Piper City Camp, No. 718, instituted in 1888. 


Pil)er City has four churches: United Presbyterian, First M. E. church. 
Catholic and German congregation. 


The Toledo, Peoria & Westei-n Raili'oad is Piper City's means of ti'ansport- 
ing its products. 

J. 1). Tieken, C. S. INIellen and S. D. Culbertson are the practicing physi- 
cians of Piper City. 

■ Piper City has one lawyer and his name is M. H. Scott. 


-loliii II. Lewis, in liis History of tlie I'an Handle of Ford County, has 
recoi'ded nnich of interest, and we make room for scn'eral extracts: 

On or about tlie 1st of September, 1856, a prairie fire was started in tlie 
south part of what is now known as Ford county, and tlie wind being from 
the south drove the fire ovei- the count I'v at a frightful speed, ])urning all the 
prairie lying west of the Illinois Central Railroad track to what was known 


as Indian Timber, and as far north as the Kankakee river before it could be 
stopped. As I said, the season was very dry, and the low sloughs that grew 
a very fair ({uality of grass that year, continued to burn for fully three months, 
or until the ground froze up in the fall. The lands that were so badly burned 
still show the effects of the fire. Some of these places came directly under the 
writer's observation, and were he in the northern part of the county now, he 
could show places in swamps on the north half of section 7, south half of sec- 
tion 6, in township 25 north, range 9 east, and in a small slough in the south 
half of southwest quarter of section 21, township 26 north, also in sloughs that 
lie south and west of Oliver's Grove, and near what was called Corn Grove, 
wliicli before the fire was smooth, even sloughs, but are now ponds and lakes of 
water. The cause of this is that the tall grass, that at that time grew in the 
sloughs, took fire, and having so much body, burned into the ground in such 
a manner that it settled into basins. Among these may be mentioned Turtle 
pond, lying south of Oliver's Grove, and Corn Grove pond, lying west of Tur- 
tle pond. The timber in Oliver's Grove, especially the down timber, was nearly 
all destroyed, and it was considered that the loss in wood that ]\Ir. Oliver sus- 
tained must have run into the thousands of cords. Going farther north to 
what is now known as Vermilion swamp, the effects of the fire may still be 
found. Before the fire, all that country from the county line of Ford and 
Iro(iuois counties, in township 28 north, range 9 and 10 east, was a large 
slough, which grew coarse but good grass, not canebrake as it does now. In 
this place the fire burned holes into the ground fully three feet deep and for 
several years after no grass or anything green grew there. 

Before the fire, large herds of deer could be seen grazing quietly on the 
prairies, but these beautiful animals were now driven to other localities and 
deer meat was scarce. 

The presidential election in the fall of 1856 caused very little excitement 
in our settlement. The voting place was full twenty-five miles distant at 
Prairie City, now Paxton, and the few settlers who were eligible to vote did 
not take the trouble to go to the polls. At that time the only voters in the 
Pan Handle were M. Parsons, Dr. Marshall, John R. Lewis, T. W. Pope, ]\I. 
Faddling, Dr. DeNormandy. 

This spring was noted for the large influx of new settlers, and carpenters 
who came on to build their homes for them, among the latter I remember 
Elisha and Nathaniel Sherman, of Onarga, and Mr. Needham. These three had 
others helping them, and it was with difficulty that they found boarding places. 
Among the first of the new settlers who came were ]\Iessrs. Samuel and Michael 


Cross. These beyan i)nttinu' up a lioiise on the northwest quarter of the 
northwest quarter of section 4, township 26, "Sir. Needham superintending the 
work. They boarded with John R. Lewis and traveled four miles morning 
and evening to and from their work. Soon after these came, wliicli ^\•as in 
April, it was discovered that a liouse was being bnilt on the northeast quarter 
of the northeast ciuarter of section 20 for a family from Philadelphia, Pennsyl- 
vania, named JMcKinney. The next house to be bnilt was for Ira Z. Congdon 
on the northeast corner of section 32. ]\Ir. Congdon came from near New 
London, Connecticut, along M^ith what was known as the Connecticut settlers, 
mention of whom will be made hereafter. A little to the west of Mr. Congdon, 
on the same section, Wallace W. Wicks commenced improving a farm, but did 
not build on it. Aaron Scofield built on the west half of the southwest quar- 
ter of section 30, and at the same time Conrad Volp put up a house on the 
southeast quarter of section 10. lie came from near Albany, New York, and 
brought with him his three youngest sons, Horace, George and Christopher, the 
oldest son, Charles, having come out the summer before and taken up his abode 
with A. J. Bartlett. 

All these settlers were near each other, but a few began to arrive and take 
up land in the northern townships, which seemed to us at that time a long way 
off. The first of these was Robert Hall, who came from New York state. Ho 
had purchased a large tract of land from the I. C. Railroad Company, and 
Iniilt his house on the southwest corner of section 28, township 27, and soon 
after a young man from near Boston, Massachusetts, put in an appearance, and 
commenced to build a small house on section 22. He had no family and kept 
"bach." His name was Henry Atwood. A little later in the summer Joseph 
Davis, from Ohio, settled on the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of 
section 6, in township 26. Most of these settlers arrived in time to break up 
some land and put it into corn. 

I will now go back to the time the Connecticut settlement was organized. 

During the winter of 1855-56 an organization was effected by a few citi- 
zens in and around New Loiulon in the state of Connecticut, under tlie name 
of the Woi'king Man's Settlement Association, Avith the following named per- 
sons as members : 

W. A. Babcock, president; R. A. Ilungerford, secretary; S. K. IMarston, 
treasurer; M. E. Morgan, E. Marston, B. F. Field, Urbane Havens, Ira Z. Cong- 
don, R. R. Piersons, Rev. P. J. Williams, George B. Clark, J. II. Lester, S. P. 
Avery, W. H. Bently, Sidney A. Morgan, Theophilus Morgan, B. N. Marston, 
William Applery, James S Maxon, C. A. Marston, E. F. Havens, W. S. Lar- 


kill, Gil R. Laplace, D. T. Hutchinson, James Miller, Robert Ecclestoii, U. S-. 
Bossie, II. C. Dennis, E. C. Morgan, John Isham. 

Ill September, 1856, the first permanent settlers belonging to the colony 
arrived, among them being S. K. Marston, E. F. Havens, George Clark, M. E. 
Morgan, S. P. Averj^, T. and A. Morgan, D. T. Hutchinson, R. Eccleston and 
R. R. Piersons. While passing through Chicago, they purchased one hundred 
thousand feet of lumber for building purposes, and had it shipped to Onarga, 
to which place they were all bound. 

In April and INIay, 1857, all these settlers moved onto their lands in the 
Pan Handle, and began making improvements. 

Some time in June it was suggested by E. F. Havens that we all take 
baskets on the Fourth of July, go to School Section Grove, have a good time, and 
properly celebrate the birthday of our national liberty. All were pleased with 
the idea, and each one did his or her best to make it a success. 

The eventful day at last arrived, and we all assembled at the grove. When 
the baskets were opened, ]\Irs. F. M. Chenney created cpiite a sensation by pro- 
ducing an immense pan of baked pork and beans. Others brought roast tur- 
key, chickens, frosted cakes and other delicacies, but all these fine dishes were 
given the cold shoulder, each one longing for a dish of the dear old familiar 
homelv, baked beans. 

There were one hundred and ten persons present, men, women and chil- 
dren, and every one seemed surprised that there were so many people near 
them, and rejoiced in the feeling that they were not alone in the boundless 

In the summer of this year, the T. P. & W. railroad was built through the 
Pan Handle, the line being located near the north edge of township 26, run- 
ning almost due east and west, and a long side track was laid on the north 
half of section 2. At this time, there were no settlers near the railroad, and 
a little to the west of the side track there was a big slough that completely 
cut ofl:' all communication from the west. East of the side track, there were 
no settlers within the boundary of the Pan Handle. The motive of the rail- 
way compan}^ in building the side track in such a place was beyond the com- 
prehension of any of the settlers, but it was soon learned that there was to bo 
a town there called Brenton, now Piper City. 

There were regular meetings and Sabbath schools at the residence of some 
one of the settlers in town 26 during the summer and fall of this year. These 
meetings were principally conducted by Mr. McKinney, Robert Hall and Henry 
Atwood. ]\Ir. Hall was sui)erintendent of the Sabbath school, and was a faith- 


fill worker. The houses where services were held were A. IMcKinney 's, R. 
Hall's, J. E. Davis', Dr. Elias T. Hahn's and A. J. Bartlett's. The singing 
was led by M. Cross, with a flute. The meetings were well attended, and I 
believe much good was done by them. 

In township 25, meetings were held at the homes of F. M. Wyman, S. K. 
]\rarston and ]\Ir. Lyman, until the new sehoolhouse was built, of which I shall 
speak hereafter. These meetings were noted for the excellent singing, in which 
^Ir. and Mrs. ]\Iarston took an active interest, both being fine musicians. 

At all these meetings no sect or ism was recognized. The people assem- 
bled to worship God, and few eared what particular denomination his neighbor 
belonged to. 

At this time the early settlers were nuich concerned about money matters. 
The money in circulation was in the shape of bank bills, or notes, as they were 
called. Many of the banks had no money with which to redeem their notes 
and when this fact became known, of course the notes depreciated in value, and 
many persons lost considerable sums of money from this cause. In fact, no 
one knew whether the notes he held were good for anything or not. 

The winter of 1857-58 was rather unsteady. There was not much frost, 
and the snow that occasionally fell in great quantities soon thawed off. The 
roads were about half frozen, which made hauling wood for fuel an impossi- 
bility and many of the settlers got badly discouraged. 

At this time tea and coffee were almost unknown among the settlers. In 
fact the only coffee used was made out of browned corn, sweetened with a 
kind of rough molasses made from sorghum. This w^as first introduced bv 
Mark Parsons in the spring of 1857, at which time he received from Mr. J. O. 
Norton, of Washington, District of Columbia, two or three packages of the 
seed. This he sowed, carefully harvesting the seeds produced from it, and 
making the juice from the stalk into molasses. 

The Pan Handle was at this time infested with wolves and badgers. They 
abounded mostly in township 27, where they seemed to make their headquar- 
tei's. The badgers were most frefpiently found on section 11, where there is 
a long sand ridge known as ]\Iount Thunder, and to this point hunters fre- 
([uently went, and a number of these animals were killed. 

The winter of 1859-60 was dry and cold, not much snow fell, ami the ct)rn 
which was light, was gathered before the ground froze, and a ((uantity of fall 
ph)wing was done. 

This winter surprise parties became <|uit(' fashionnl)]e, and notwithstanding 
the fact that the settlers lived long distances apart, were well attended. Socia- 


bles were also in order, and a company often came over from Onarga, bringing 
good music with them. 

We have now come to one of the most uneventful years in the early settle- 
ment of the Pan Handle, and of 1860 there is little to record. 

Spring commenced early, and the small grain was mostly in by the end 
of March. Fine rains set in in April, and everything was lovely. It will 
be remembered by the first settlers that the ground s(iuirrels were very annoy- 
ing this year. They would follow the planter, and i-oot tiu' corn out of the hills 
from one end of the field to tlie other. 

The principal trading point of the settlers north of the south line of town 
26 was Chatsworth, and all south of this line went to Onarga. 

Regular religious services were held in the IVIarston schoolhouse, in town 
25, every Sabbath, conducted by ]\Ir. Foster and Mr. Needham, one on one Sun- 
day and the other on the next. The Sabbath school was conducted with Saul 
C. Bnrt as superintendent, and G. B. Winters as teacher of the Bible class, 
and S. K. I^Iarston of the other scholars. This school was noted for its Bible 
discussions, conducted principally by Messrs. Winters, and Wyman, and some- 
times by S. C. Burt. 

The Sunday school in the northern township was held at the homes of A. 
McKinney, Robert Hall and a few other houses. ]\Ir. Hall was superintendent 
and A. McKinney teacher of the Bible class. INIr. Hall was an active worker 
in the Sabbath school, and taught one of the younger classes. 

As a rule, Sunday was strictly observed by the entire settlement, and it 
was a rare thing to see any one doing any work on that day. 

This year, 1860, the money in the county began to fail. The collectors 
of the different townships had been taking the Illinois bank's shinplaster bills, 
and when they came to settle with the auditor, they found that nothing but 
gold would be accepted, and the consequence was that the school funds were 
greatly reduced. Before the collectors began their work, the Ijoard of super- 
visors had ordered that the moneys of certain l)anks named should be accepted 
in payment, but before the day of settlement arrived, these banlcs had sus- 
pended, and the money was worthless. 

Upon the settlement of the collectors, the board of supervisors convened 
and caused the deficiency to be properly proportioned among the different funds 
as fairly as possible. 

This fall, the price of all kinds of country produce went away down. Oats 
sold for seven or eight cents per l)ushel, spring wheat for from thirty to forty 
cents, good dressed hogs for from one dollar and fifty cents to two dollars per 


one hundred pounds, and everything else tliat farmers had to sell was down 
in the same way. 

The following is a list of names of those who went from the Pan Handle 
to fight for the preservation of the Union and returned safely: A. S. Bavwse, 
Fred Foot, Henry Phelps, R. A. Pope, Rob Ferris, Jacob Brown, Ed Kent, JNFr. 
Stoneback, James Feeley, H. Eccleston, D. Kingsley, j\Iorris Burt, John Hav- 
ens, Ed Havens, Albert Holmes and S. B. Lyman. 

Killed or missing, Thomas Hahn, Joseph Law. 

Some of those enlisted in Company F. Twenty-fifth Regiment Infantry, 
under Captain R. W. Andrews, others went into the cavalry in Comjoany ]\I, 
Ninth Regiment, Captain E. R. Knight. All who went from the Pan Handle 
in these companies, were credited to Iroquois county, as residents from that 

I must now go back to 1858 and give your readers an account of how we 
that year celebrated the Fourth of July in Beset Grove : 

About four hundred people were present, and we had a grand good time. 
Addresses Avere delivered by E. L. Gibson. G. B. Winter, G. II. Thompson and 
other local talent. The Prairie Glee Club, led by S. K. INIarston. discoursed 
excellent music, and Seth Turner, the captain of S. K. IMarston 's ox team, helped 
to enthuse us with his rhymes. 

This season (1864) the price of corn and other products ran up pretty 
high. Corn was sold for sixty cents per bushel, and some farmers who held 
theirs over, got as much as eighty-five cents. Oats sold for from forty to 
fifty cents per bushel, and barley ran up to two and a half dollars. This 
year, Peter Van Antwerp had sowed quite a large patch of barley, and raised 
sixty bushels to the acre. This he sold for two and a half dollars per l)ushel. 

Rev. Charles Granger, of Button township, writes: "The writer and a 
few others organized what is now called the Congregational Church of Christ 
at Paxton, a few months after its organization, at a village called Prospect City. 
The church was named the Union Church of Christ of the Middle Fork of the 
Vermilion river. With that name the church assisted in organizing and joined 
the Illinois Central East A.ssociation of Congregational INIinisters. AYithin a 
year after its organization, the writer (the first minister of the church) insti- 
tuted a series of religious meetings, which llic h(»a(l of the church approved by 
a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit. After laboring about four yeai-s, 
the writer gave up the charge because of ill health. Sliortly thereafter, the 
church changed its name to Congregational. Although the Methodists liad a 



class and week day preaching, the Union church instituted the first regular 
Sabbath preaching. ' ' 

111 IMay, 1854, Robei't Blaekstock, journeying from his home in Indiana 
westward, passed through what* is now Ford county, and found a IMethodist 
Episcopal society at Trickel Grove. 

Services were held in John Dopps' log cabin, which afterward became the 
"William Walker homestead, in Button township. On careful inquiry, he found 
this to be the first and at that time the only IMethodist Episcopal society in the 
present county of Ford. It was organized in 1848, being the northwest 
appointment of the Danville circuit. A history of the Methodist (ihurch 
appears elsewhere in this work. INlany of the facts, especially as to early 
events, were furnished by Mr. Blaekstock. 

It is related of Rev. W. H. H. Moore, who was on this circuit in 1855, 
that a Yankee clock peddler, passing through this new settlement, had stopped 
over night at a house at Trickel Grove, where religious services were to be held 
the following day. Having displayed his clocks in the largest room, and to 
show their timekeeping qualities had carefully wound and set them. When 
the preacher was in the midst of his sermon, the services l)(Mng held in the 
clock room, these clocks began their work of noting the hour of twelve. All 
the fervor and eloquence of the frontier itinerant were not sufficient to hold the 
attention of his congregation, and it is feared that tlie labors of that day were 
in vain. 

It has been said that in 1862 tlie first Sunday school convention for Ford 
and Iroquois counties was held on a Sabbath day in the freight depot at Loda. 
The active participants were the resident ministers of Paxton and Loda, Mr. 
Weaver, Mr. Search and others. 

Some two years later, a similar convention was held at the courthouse in 

We arC' indebted to Edgar N. Stevens for the following items compiled 
from the files of the Paxton Record: 

The first numl)er of the Paxton Record was published February 9, 1865, 
by N. E. Stevens, with D. S. Crandall associate editor. The office was in a 
building which was a part of the residence of John McMurray, just south of the 
old Patton block. The building was small and the office unpretentious, but of 
ample size to meet the demands of the town. It has grown steadily ever since, 
keeping pace with the demand for good work and experienced workmen. 

Among the first items of interest we notice was this: About the first of 
]\Iarch, 1865, the legi.slature passed an act incorporating the town of Paxton. 


Oh Thursday, May 4, of the same year, the mammoth grain warehouse of 
Buck & Hall was destroyed by fire. The loss was fourteen thousand dollars; 
insurance seven thousand eight hundred dollars. 

In the spring of 1865 the town was in a prosperous condition and many 
new buildings were erected, among them the Methodist Episcopal church, the 
basement of which was used for a young ladies' seminary, conducted b.y Mrs. 
Buckland. In June of that year, there were the following number of business 
houses in the town : Five dry goods and groceries, three grocery stores, one 
warehouse, one liouringmill, two lumberyards, two drug stores, one print- 
ing office, one dentist, five physicians, four lawyers, one hardware store, one 
land agency, one furniture warehouse, one seeding machine manufactory, two 
hotels, one agricultural warehouse, one express office, one watchmaker, one meat 
market, one photograph gallery, one nursery, two shoe, four blacksmitli. two 
wagons, one gunsmith, two carpenter and one paint shops, one saddler\', one 
millinery, one sulky cultivator works, one real-estate agency, two tobacconists, 
one furniture store, one bakery and one plow factory. 

About this time the Meharry church, four miles west of town, was built by 
the farmers. 

Tlie corner stone of the Congregational church was laid with appropriate 
ceremonies, August 18, 1865. 

The 4th of July, 1865, was celebrated at Ten Mile Grove, by a large con- 
course of citizens and Sunday school children. There was also a celebration 
at Trickel Grove. 

R. S. Buckland, while on a tour of observation in Missouri, June 18, 1865, 
accidentally shot himself. His remains were buried in the old cemetery. He 
was a prominent and enterprising citizen of Paxton. 

A division of the organization known as the Grand Army of the Republic 
was formed at Paxton in October, 1866. 

The United Presbyterian church, a large edifice capable of acc'ommodating 
six hundred persons, was dedicated March 11, 1867. 

Pells' block, a three-story brick buihling witli fifty feet front, was com- 
pleted in the summer of 1867. It was built by W. H. Pells, and was destroyed 
by fire in the year 1874. 

On the 6tli of November, 1867, the citizens, legal voters of Ford county, 
gave an overwhelming majority in favor of taking one Inuidred and twelve 
thousand dollars stock in the Lafayette, Bloomington & Mississipi)i Railway. 

Clark's block, an elegant three-story brick building, fifty by eighty feet, and 


forty-five feet in height, was finished in the fall of 1867. R. Clark, of Paxton, 
was the owner. 

The fall of 1867 was remarkable for the heavy sales of real estate made 
by local dealers. One firm in Paxton sold nine thousand acres within thirty 
days. The sales of the same firm, for the five weeks ending December 5, aggre- 
gated fourteen thousand six hundred and three acres. 

The number of inlial)itants added to the county during the year ending 
July 1, 1867, was one thousand seven hundred and fifty. 

The first seven days of May, 1868, will long l)e remembered on account of 
the unprecedented amount of rain. The meteorological report shows that the 
amount was three and fifty-seven hundredths inches, almost as much as for any 
month during the preceding four months. The storms were accompanied by 
thunder aiul lightning, the pyrotechnic display l)eing most beautiful and 

A hurricane passed over Paxton Tuesday, May 26, 1868, stripping the stee- 
ple from the United Presbyterian church. This was the finest church edifice 
in the city, and the spire was beautifully proportioned to the building. The 
damage resulting therefrom was estimated at about eleven hundred dollars. 

Paxton was visited by a heavy fire on INIonday, January 18, 1869. The 
fire broke out in a building occupied by Travis, Hall & Company, as a hard- 
ware store, the second story being occupied by L. A. Dodd as a dwelling. Tlie 
losers were Travis, Hall & Company, hardware dealers, eleven hundred dol- 
lars ; interest in building, fourteen hundred dollars ; no insurance ; L. A. Dodd, 
household goods, five hundred dollars, insured; interest in building, one 
thousand dollars; uninsured; S. L. Day, interest in building, one thousand dol- 
lars, uninsured; J. McCormick, druggist, loss on ])ui](ling, three thousand dol- 
lars, insured for fifteen hundred dollars ; loss on stock, five hundred dollars ; N. 
A. Hall, restaurant, damage on stock, two hundred dollars; Mrs. S. S. Lantz, 
daguerreotype gallery, loss on stock, three hundred dollars, insured; h)ss on 
household goods, two Inmdred dollars; Scott & McDaniel, dry goods, loss on 
building, two thousand dollars; insured for fifteen hundred dollars; IMasonic 
lodge, on furniture, two hundred dollars; C. II. Wyman, on building, two tliou- 
sand dollars, with no insurance. Tlie origin of the fire was unknowai. The 
advantage of brick over wood as a building material was demonstrated in the 
case of Pells' block, which escaped comparatively unscathed, though suljjected 
to an intense heat. 

On the 27th of March excavations had l)een commenced for the founda- 
tions of five brick buildings to occupy the site of those destroyed by fire. 


The engineer corps, engaged in running the line of the L. B. & ]M. Rail- 
road through Paxton, arrived March 23, 1870, under charge of Colonel Morgan. 

The assessment returns of Ford county, for the year 1870, amounted to 
two million thirty-seven thousand seven hundred and sixty-two dollars. The 
number of acres under cultivation were, of wheat, eight thousand six hundred 
and forty-five ; corn, fifty thousand two hundred and two ; other field products, 
twelve thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine. 

Enterprise was the name of a village platted in township 27 (Drummer) 
at the crossing of the L. B. & ]\I. and G. C. & S. Railroads, by J. B. Lott, in 
November, 1870. The location was favorable as to commercial facilities and 
the name of the village has since been changed to Gibson City. It is now 
one of the most flourishing towns of the county. As its original name implies, 
Gibson City is remarkable for its enterprise and thrift. It is the second town 
in the county in size and population, is provided with gaslight, has good side- 
walks, telephone connection with Saybrook and Bloomington, and other modern 

A destructive storm visited Paxton and vicinity from the 12tli to the 14th 
of January, 1871. Every building, fence and tree was encased in an icy coat 
of mail nearly an inch in thickness. Scarcely a building escaped damage from 
leakage to a greater or less extent. The greatest loss sustained was to fruit 
and shade trees, some of those from four to five inches in diameter being either 
broken ofl' entirely or stripped of their limbs. 

The Paxton flax mill was built in the summer of 1871. The main building 
is one hundred and eight by thirty feet. 

]\r. L. SuUivant finished husking his corn for 1871 on the 29th day of Feb- 
ruary, 1872. His crop aggregated four hundred and fifty thousand bushels. 
Mr. Sullivant was at that time proprietor of Burr Oaks farm comprising some 
forty-two thousand acres. 

The last rail of the T^ake Erie & Western Railwa\' was laid February 22, 

Kirk's Station, Clarence postoffice, was established in May, 1872. on tlie 
line of the L. B. & M. Railway, about six miles east of Paxton. 

A terrible railroad accident was the cause of much sorrow in Paxton and 
vicinity, June, 1872. On the 17th of that month, a construction train ran from 
the track and four men were instantly killed and twenty-one injured. Two of 
the latter died soon thereafter. The coroner's j\iry returned a verdict iji 
accordance with these facts. 


Independence Day, 1872, Avas celebrated in the courthouse park. There 
was a laro'e concourse of people present, and the usual oration, toasts, music, 
etc., were indulged in. There was a display of fireworks in the evening. 

The first annual fair of the Ford County Agricultural Association was held, 
commencing September 24, 1872. The officers were William Noel, president; 
]\r. L. Sullivant and F. T. Putt, vice presidents; George Wright, treasurer; J. J. 
Simons, recording secretary ; N. E. Stevens, corresponding secretary ; John Bod- 
ley, superintendent. 

October 29, 1872, the Paxton IMethodist Episcopal churdi was dedicated, 
the sermon being delivered by Rev. A. P. Mead. The church had been occu- 
pied for a number of years, but at this time extensive repairs and improve- 
ments had been completed. 

In October, 1872, a carload of scrapers, plows, etc., was unloaded at Pax- 
ton, to ])e used in grading the Paxton & Danville Railroad. 

October 27, 1872, at the union services. Rev. W. M. Richie was installed as 
pastor of the Paxton United Presbyterian church. The sermon was preached 
by Rev. J. D. Whitham, of Rankin. The resident pastors, Revs. I. Brundage, 
W. D. Best and J. L. McNair, assisted in the services. 

The work of drilling an artesian well was begun in 1873. Diiring the pro- 
gress of the work many curious bits of wood were drawn up which were, no 
doubt, buried in these strata ages upon ages ago. The well proved a failure, 
and after boring over twenty-seven hundred feet, the work was abandoned ; not. 
however, until it had burdened the city with a debt of some eighteen thousand 

The Presbyterian church in 1884 was a frame building, forty-two by sixty- 
eight feet, with vestibiUe, and was of the gothic order of architecture. The 
main audience room was twenty-eight feet high, and frescoed in Corinthian 
style. The interior presented a very pleasing appearance. The cost of the 
edifice was about seven thousand five hundred dollars. The dedication took 
place on the 13th day of July, 1873. Rev. Dr. Bailey preached the dedicatory 
sermon, and at the services some twenty-five hundred dollars was subscribed 
toward li<iuidating a debt of al)out two thcnisand seven hundred and fifty dol- 
lars which rested on the building. 


A book called "Svenskarne in Illinois" (the Swedes in Illinois) was com- 
piled and written in 1880 by Captain Eric Johnson, of Galva, Illinois, and C. 


F. Peterson, one of the mana«;in<2r editors of Swenska Tribiinen (the Swedish 
Tribune) Chicago, and from it the following translations are made by John F. 

G. Helmer: 

This part of Illinois has a very peculiar geographical shape, and is siiiiil;ii' 
to Rock Island county. It is forty-one miles long and twenty-eiglit miles 
wide, located between Iroquois and Livingston counties. In one place it is 
twenty-eight miles, and in another again, eighteen miles wide, but only to again 
contract itself into a narrow strip only six miles wide. The county was organ- 
ized in 1859, and had in 1870 a population of ten thousand people. The land 
is nearly level and in many places very level and flat, so that the system of 
ditches are necessary to carry off the surplus water in wet seasons. Paxton is 
the leading town and county seat, and has a population of three thousand six 


The Swedes in Paxton and the immediate vicinity have in Swen Hedenskog 
their earliest pioneer. He had in Sweden been overseer of a large plantation in 
the province of Holland, and emigrated with his family in 1857, and settled 
about nine miles west of Paxton. Here, poor as he was, he experienced many 
privations, but came out victorious, and prospered, and was considered w^ell-off 
Avhen he moved to' Nebraska a number of years ago, at which place he died. 
In 1859, Carl Anderson, who was a sailor by occupation, and another man by 
the name of Andrew Olson (both from the Province of HeLsingland, Sweden) 
located in the neighborhood. Anderson has since removed to Colorado. 

"Wlien in 1863 it became an assured fact to locate the Swedish Augustana 
College at Paxton, the Swedish emigration became lively to these parts, and in 
that year an agreement Avas made Avith the Illinois Central Railroad Company 
that the Swedes should settle on lands the company had for sale, in considera- 
tion of which the company should pay tlie college a conunission of oiu^ dollar 
per acre on every acre sold to the Swedish settlers. Consul P. L. liawkinson, 
of Chicago, was the company's agent in Paxton. Among others who arrived 
at that time was Erik Rasmus, from Ganunelstorp Blekinge. He had then been 
in the country ten years, having emigrated in 1853. aiul settled at Galesburg. 
In the same year (1^63) came to the Paxton colony, Carl Larson, Erik Carlson, 
John Anderson and A. ]\I. Hanson. 

The following year brought to Paxton J. II. Wistrand, who was the first 
Swedisli merchant in Paxton, and kept a grocery store until 1875, w^hen the col- 


lege removed to Rock Island; he also removed there and engaged in mercantile 
business. Peter Hedburg appeared in Paxton the same year, and kept a lum- 
beryard at first, and afterward in various other occupations, and held the ofifices 
of justice of the peace and collector. Poor health made it necessary for him 
to seek a different clime, and in the spring of 1873 he removed to Colorado and 
located at Denver, where he became the Swedish consul. 

Emigration to the Ford county colony continued brisk, and in 1865, the 
following additons from Attica, Indiana, where all had lived for many years: 
Fredrik Bjorklund, Carl Fager, John Swan, John Johnson, Carl Peterson, Peter 
Larson, Carl Johnson, Adolph Johnson and John Nelson. Emigration to the 
place continued constantly till 1870. Since then nearly as many have moved 
out west to the western states and territories, as have come here from Sweden. 
About them can be said that they have fought all difficulties with heroic cour- 
age, and acquired an independence where their Amrican brethren and neigh- 
bors very often have failed. The secret here is their persevering hard labor, 
and strict economy. 

The number of Swedes in Paxton is estimated at fifteen hundred. In no 
place, with the exception of New Boston, can be found as many business men 
(merchants) in proportion to the population, and no where do the Swedes do a 
better business than here. It is natural that they would not succeed as well, 
did not the Americans support them as well as their Swedish patrons. One of 
tlic most successful Swedish enterprises Avas Nels Dahlgren's plow and machine 
shops. ]\Ir. Dahlgren had before been engaged with John Deere & Co. in INIoline. 
He came to Paxton in 1865, and began on a small scale the same year. His pro- 
ductions, especially his plows, soon earned him a reputation as the best in the 
market, and the demand for them increased, and the shops were enlarged so that 
he was al^le to manufacture three hundred plows and forty cultivators in 1871. 

We continue further, and find Gustaf Sandberg, who runs an important 
wagon and blacksmith shop ; Swenning Anderson, blacksmith ; J. P. Lindstrom, 
dealer and manufacturer in furniture and cabinet goods; Kjellstrand & INIelby, 
painters ; A. J. Laurence, dry goods ; John F. G. Helmer, druggist ; Peter Larson, 
merchant tailor; John Nelson, dealer in ready made clothing; Fred Telander, 
groceries and hardware ; N. G. Egnall, furniture ; Nels Younggreen, John Crantz, 
Andrew Anderson, Perry A. Berggren and Lars H. Rodeen, grocers ; Sheldon & 
Swanson, dealers and manufacturers of boots and shoes; P. A. Berggren, photog- 
rapher, and Swen Lundberg, brick and tile maker, with a yearly production of 
five hundred thousand brick. In the matter of churches, they are here as well 


provided for as their countrymen elsewhere. The Swedish Lutheran congrega- 
tion was organized by Prof. Hasselguist in 1863. 

The first service was held in the old sehoolhouse which belonged to the 
college, and served as a house of worshi}) till 1872, when a good and substantial 
church was built. 

The congregation is a large one, and the Sunday school is equally so. In 
1884 Rev. A. Edgren was pastor of the church, and was born in Nedra Ulleryd, 
in the Province of Vermland, the 3d day of January, 1844. He came to Amer- 
ica in 1870, and graduated in Paxton the 2!)th of June, 1873. The Swedish 
Lutheran ]\Iission church was, in November, 1878, organized with a membership 
of seventy-five, with Rev. A. P. Palmc^uist as its pastor. The following year a 
neat and pleasant church was liuilt at an expense of fifteen hundred dollars. 
The membership has since largely increased. Society Swea has existed since 
1877, and is at present in a very prosperous condition. Its principal object is 
to furnish its members social benefits and mutual assistance. Swea has already 
paid out a considerable sum as help to sick members, and has laid a good founda- 
tion for a library fund. 

The Swedish cornet band was organized by the musically inclined Swedes, 
in October, 1877, with G. A. Palmblad as leader, and members of same were 
John A. Nelson, C. A. Larson, George Hanson, A. E. Sheldon, G. Swenson. G. A. 
Lundberg, A. Hegstrom, A. J. Anderson and Gust Sandburg. In the political 
field J^n F. G. Helmer held the office of coroner four years, the office of the 
justice of the peace has been held by Peter Iledburg, and also Andrew Lindstrom, 
now residing in Chicago ; and he was elected collector of taxes. David Swanson 
is the present postmaster of Paxton. 


This is a settlement of Swedes, nine miles west of Paxton, and is the center 
of a large, prosperous settlement, dating back to 1863 and 1864, or at aI)out the 
same time the college was located in Paxton. About the countrymen there is not 
much of a general interest to relate, because they live scattered on farms, and we 
have no other history than that of their church. 

A Swedish Lutheran church was organized here in the year 1863, and in 1867 
a church was erected at a cost of four thousand tlpHars and a parsonage costing 
two thousand dollars — membership about two hundred and twenty-five. This 
colony stretches far away in the north and west, to the stations of Elliott and 
Gibson, and in each of them are a number of Swedes. 




At Gibson reside several Swedish families, who have organized two churches, 
The Lutheran and Mission. 

The Paxton settlement branches out south along the Illinois Central Railroad 
into Campaign county, and at Rantoul. East of Paxton we have Rankin, where 
a Swedish Lutheran congregation has existed since 1865. 



Kind of Property Number 

Horses 805 

Cattle 1870 

Mules 12 

Sheep 108 

Hogs 1133 

Value of domestic animals 

Indebtedness on domestic animals 

Net value of domestic animals 

Carriages and wagons 324 

Clocks and watches 303 

Pianos 4 

Goods and merchandise 

^Manufactured article 

Moneys and credits 

Unincumbered property 

Total personal property 

Total valuation of lands 

Total valuation of town lots 

Total assessed value for 1860 


Kind of Crop 



Other products 

Acres reported under cultivation 























335 00 
























TAXES FOR 1860. 

Kind of Tax. Amount 

State $4,32-1 02 

State School 1,840 01 

County 3.220 00 

Special County 920 05 

Road 462 63 

School District 1, Town 23 Range 28 498 94 

School District 2, Town 23, Range 8 70 36 

School District 1, Town 24, Range 9 98 58 

School District 2, Town 24, Range 9 303 01 

School District 1, Town 23, Range 10 122 79 

School District 3, Town 23, Range 10 85 08 

School District 1, Town 23, Range 14 37 75 

School District 2, Town 23, Range 14 106 43 

School District 2, Town 23, Range 9 153 55 

School District 1, Town 26, Range 9 625 97 

School District 2, Town 26, Range 9 436 54 

School District 4, Town 25, Range 9 536 40 

Back taxes for 1859 164 12 

Total taxes for 1860 14,005 23 

far:\i drainage of ford county. 

In the early days inuch of the farming in Ford county was done uj)()n low; 
wet and swampy lands. During those days it was no uncommon occurrence 
in the springtime to see a large number of acres of the very best land in the 
state under from one to two feet of water. For this reason nuicli of llic most 
valuable land in the county was at that time considered of litllc \;ilue on 
account of the lack of drainage. In recent years however. Ix'giniiing ;is early 
as 1884 the farmers of Foi'd connt\' have oi'g.uiizcd draiiiiige districts and 
now, practically, all of the lands of Ford county, formerly low and swani})y, 
have l)een I'cclaimed foi* ;igricultur;d ])ui'[)oses. 

It is well known niuoiig agi'icultui'ists that low swampy lands when once 
properly drained become the richest and most productive of lands. Whereas, 
formerly, when the far-mer sowed his grain in the springtime with no assurance 


that lie would reap a harvest, now, by successful drainage of his lands he finds 
an almost sure harvest. 

There is now under operation and maintenance in Ford county, the fol- 
lowing drainage districts : 

Vermilion Special, cost ii^200,000.00 

Pella No. 1, cost $12,000.00 

Pella No. 2, cost $15,000.00 

Union Pella and Brenton, cost $30,000.00 

AVall Township, cost $25,000.00 

Lyman township, cost $15,000.00 

Lyman and Wall township, cost $30,000.00 

Little Lyman, cost $ 5,000.00 

Big Four, cost > $425,000.00 

Sullivant township, cost $18,000.00 

Harmony township, cost $12,000.00 

Sugar Creek, cost $18,000.00 

Drummer Township uncompleted, estimated cost. .$40,000.00 

The above items of cost are estimated, and Avhile not exactly correct, they 
are still very close to the exact figures. It will be observed that the public 
drainage work among the farmers of Ford county has reached or will reach 
approximately the sum of six hundred thousand .dollars, when all the drain- 
age districts now in process of construction are paid for. These drainage dis- 
tricts have reclaimed thousands of acres of land, which, before their construc- 
tion, were either entirely non-productive or the crops growing thereon were 
largely lessened as a result of improper drainage. These districts have afforded 
sufficient and proper outlets for the lands within the boundaries of each dis- 
trict and the farmers have taken the opportunity to lay a great number of 
tile, so that, taking all and all Ford county has been reclaimed from numerous 
low, wet swamps to high grade, productive agricultural lands. 

It is generally conceded that the farming lands of Ford county in pro- 
ductions, are far above the average of the farms throughout the state. And 
one of the main causes of this has been the result of public spirit among the 
farmers, resulting in the large expenditure of money in drainage. 

The law firms that have been connected with this work are, Cloud & 
Thpmpson, Schneider & Schneider and A. L. Phillips. As a result of drain- 
age litigation two very important cases have been taken from Ford county to 
the higher courts. 


The case of Big Four Drainage District vs Perdue et al was taken to 
the appellate court by the 'firm of Schneider & Schneider, representing the 
objectors and Cloud & Thompson representing the drainage district. The 
question Avhich arose in that case was, "To what extent miLst lands be bene- 
fited before they can be annexed to a drainage district and assessed?" The 
court held that it was necessary for the drainage commissioners to show that 
direct benefits accrue by giving the proposed annexed laud, a better system 
of drainage, so as to enhance its market value. 

Another case entitled Trigger vs Lyman and Wall Drainage District was 
taken to the supreme court by the attorneys heretofore mentioned, and the 
court in that case held that the commissioners could levy au assessment of 
benefits against the lands and that objectors to the assessment were not entitled 
to a hearing by a jury. 

The supreme court has, however, held recently that drainage commissioners 
who own land in a drainage district are not competent to levy an assessment, 
and in at least three cases they have held such assessments unconstitutional 
and void. 

Farm drainage and the law connected therewith is a science in itself and 
the farmers of Ford county have given the matter a great deal of attention. 
They know that Ford county is an agricultural section and that the wealth of 
the county lies chiefly in its farms and they have determined to do all in their 
power to increase the value of their lands by drainage and otherwise. They 
are a rugged, sterling set and have caused "two blades of grass to grow where 
one grew before." Generations to come will reap the reward of their industry 
and frugality. 


A public meeting \\as held at the courthouse in Paxtoii, A{)i-il !), 1S()4. for 
the purpose of organizing a fair association. J. II. Dungan was chosen ciiair- 
man of tlie meeting and William A. Ooodrich, secretary. A constitution for 
au association, to be known as "The Ford County Agricultural Society," Avas 
unanimously adopted, in \vlii( h Ihc ohjcd was stated to be "The ])romotion of 
agricultural, horticultural, niccliaiiical and household arts," and Ihc following 
officers were elected : 

President, Frederick T. Putt ; vice presidents, Joshua E. Davis, J. P. 
Search, E. F. Havens; recording secretary, L. A. Barber; corresponding secre- 


tary, R. R. Murdock, treasurer, John L. Miirdock; directors, James F. Hall, 
Howard Case, Leonard Pierpont, William Baker, G. B. Winter. 

Under the above organization eouut.>' fairs were held in Paxton in 1864 
and 1865. After tliis no fair was held for several years. On the 10th of 
February, 1872, a pu])lic meeting;- convened at the courthouse to reorganize 
under a new constitution and the by-laws of the state board of agriculture. 
Of this meeting, Benjamin P. Dye was chairman, and N. E. Stevens, secretary. 
This object, however, was not accomplished until an adjourned meeting, held 
April 6, 1872, when a constitution and by-laws were adopted, and the follow- 
ing officers elected: 

President, William Noel; vice presidents, M. L. Sullivant, F. T. Putt; 
secretary, John J. Simons; treasurer, George Wright; corresponding secretary, 
N. E. Stevens ; executive committee ; John Bodley, W. B. Holmes, Samuel 
Lefever, B. F. Dye, John Richardson, William T. Patton, R. Cruzen, C. F. 
FreM^, A. H. Hanley. 

Under this organization a fair was held in Paxton, commencing Septem- 
ber 24, 1872, and lasting four days. 

On the 14th of January, 1873, having ascertained that, by a clerical error, 
the name of the society did not conform to the requirements of the state board, 
a resolution was adopted declaring the name to be "The Ford County Agri- 
cultural Board." 

The officers elected for 1873 were as follows: 

President, William Noel; vice presidents, F. T. Putt, William Walker; 
secretary, John J. Simons; treasurer, George Wright; corresponding secretary, 
C. H. Frew; executive committee, John Bodley, W. B. Holmes, Samuel Lefever, 
B. J. Dye, John Richardson, W. T. Patton, R. Cruzen, C. W. Meharry, A. H. 
Hanley. The second annual fair was held at Paxton, September 2 to 5, 

Following is the list of officers for 1874: 

President, William Noel; vice president, C. W. Meharry; secretary, John 
J. Simons; treasurer, George Wright; corresponding secretary, C. XL Frew; 
executive connnittee, John Bodley, Lindsey Corbley, J. H. Flagg, R. Cruzen, 
A. H. Hanley, John Karr, F. T. Putt, B. F. Hill, John Bayne. 

The fair in 1874 was held at Paxton, September 29 to October 2. 

Tlie next annual fair was held at the same place, September 21 to 24, 
1875. Officers: President, William Noel; vice president, J. H. Flagg; secre- 
tary-, JMerton Diuilap; treasurer, J. P. Day; corresponding secretary, N. E. 


Stevens; executive committee, F. T. Putt, II. J. Sehaeffer. John Karr, John 
Bayne, P. V. Healey, John Bodley, B. F. Hill, N. B. Day, R. Cruzen. 

In 1876 the fair was held September 19 to 22. Officers : president, F. T. 
Putt; vice president, J. II. Flagg; secretary, Merton Dunlap ; treasurer, John 
M. Hall; corresponding secretary, N. E. Stevens; executive committee, William 
Noel, Georg-e Arnott, William T. Patton, H. J. Sehaeffer, C. H. Frew, G. W. 
Cruzen. J. P. Middlecoff, John Karr, P. V. Healey. 

The fair in 1877 was held September 11 to IJ:. Officers: president. F. 
T. Putt ; vice president, William Noel ; secretary, John J. Simons ; treasurer, 
John M. Hall ; corresponding secretary, N. E. Stevens ; executive committee, 
H. J. Sehaeffer, G. W. Cruzen, George Arnott, A. L. Clark, N. B. Day, Charles 
Bogardus, C. M. Bodley, Daniel Moudy, J. H. Flagg. 

The date of the next fair was September 10 to 13, 1878. Officers: pres- 
ident, Abram Croft; vice president, H. J. Sehaeffer; secretary, G. W. Cruzen; 
treasurer, John ]\I. Hall ; corresponding secretary, N. E. Stevens ; executive 
committee, J. P. Day, Stacey Daniels, Daniel Moudy, W. E. Sawyer, J. B. 
Loose, R. Cruzen, George Arnott, C. W. Meharry, Lindsey Corbley. 

In 1879 the fair was held September 16 to 19. Officers: president, Abram 
Croft ; vice president, A. L. Clark ; secretary, G. W. Cruzen ; treasurer, John 
M. Hall; corresponding secretary, N. E. Stevens; directors, J. P. Day, J. C. 
Kirkpatrick, J. B. Loose, William Noel, F. T. Putt, W. E. Sawyer. 

The fair of 1880 was held August 31 and September 1 to 3. Officers: 
president, Abram Croft; vice presidents, J. P. Day, A. Goodell, II. J. Sehaef- 
fer; secretary, W. McTaggart; treasurer, John M. Hall; corresponding secre- 
tary, N. E. Stevens; directors, N. B. Day, 0. A. Swanson, T. jM. King, A. M. 
Daggett, John Karr, J. W. Axline, J. R. Kinnear, William Noel, E. F. Earl. 

The last fair was held in Paxtou, August 30 and 31, and September 1 
and 2, 1881. Officers: president, Charles Bogardus; vice presidents, E. F. 
Earl, N. B. Day, W. E. Sawyer; secretary, George A. Hall; treasurer, George 
"Grove; corresponding secretary, D. E. Stoner; directors, A. Croft, W. McTag- 
gart, William Noel, A. M. Daggett, T. ]\I. King, William Kenney, Nels Dahl- 
gren, R. S. Hall, J. W. Axline. 


At a meeting held in Clark's Hall at Piper City, November 5, 1881, by 
some of tlic citizc'ns of Brenton and Bella townships, for the ])urpose of organ- 
izing a I'anuers' club, the following business was transaeted : 


On motion of James MeDermott, of Pelln, James Arnold, of Pella, was 
chosen president. On motion of James R. Rezner, of Brenton, T. J. Sowers, 
of Pella, was chosen secretary, and on motion of Peter Gallahue, of Pella, 
James R. Rezner, of Brenton, was elected treasurer. On motion, the club was 
named The Brenton and Pella Farmers' Club. 

On motion, adjourned to meet again in Clark's Hall, December 3, 1881, 
at 7 o'clock, P. M. 

T. J. Sowers, Secretary. 

At the next meeting, December 3, 1881, J. A. Montelius moved that the 
officers elected hold their offices for one year. Carried. 

This was the first of a number of most interesting meetings during the 
winter of 1881-82. They were all well attended, and many farmers gave some 
valuable information on matters of interest to agriculturists. 

During this year it was decided to hold a fair for the exhibition of live 
stock, and the 23d day of September, 1882, was selected for the occasion. 

At this meeting, Henry Allnutt was elected assistant secretary. 

The premiums offered were the Western Rural and Piper City Advertiser, 
for the best blooded animal on the grounds. 

The blue and red ribbons were awarded in each class. There were sev- 
enty-nine entries. Three sjian of horses afterward sold for five hundred dol- 
lars each for each span. R. Dunn, of Brenton, took the Western Rural and 
Advertiser premium. 


This society was organized in 1872, and the first fair was held in Septem- 
ber of that year. The first officers were J. E. Davis, president; W. H. Simms, 
secretary; John H. Collier, treasurer. The society continued in successful 
operation until 1879, the last fair being in September of the latter year. The 
last officers were J. B. Lott, president; R. M. Smith, secretary; M. T. Bur- 
well, treasurer. 

Mr. Lott, who was very active and succeeded in making this last fair quite 
a success, was taken sick and died shortly afterward. 


People always enjoy the contemplation of that portion of their history which 
has been subject to severe struggles and hardships, because all things valuable 
are acquired by exertion, self-sacrifice and cost, and amid great vicissitudes. 


What is true of individual historx is ecjually true of the history of com- 
munities and nations. Even the histories of enterprises of all kinds are 
subject to the same general law. 

It is a lamentable fact, however, that those incidents, in which we feel so 
keen and lively an interest, are largely wrappc^l in the obscurity of tradition. 
This is owing to the small, almost insignificant, beginning of all enterprises, 
and the little importance attached to the necessity of preserving the early records. 
We are apt to forget that, however insignificant the beginning of anything may 
be, it may, in course of time, assume vast and paramount importance. 

Near the close of October, A. D. 1853, David Patton removed from 
Lafayette, Indiana, to that portion of the present Ford county, popularly 
known as Ten ]\Iile Grove, about two and a half miles west of Paxton. Here 
Mr. Patton found about a dozen families, who had located along this belt of 
timber, not venturing far out on the prairie lest they should lack for fuel and 
shelter, which the timber so gratuitously provided. 

The schoolhouses nearest to this point were located at Urbana and ]\Iiddle- 
port. a distance of about twenty-five miles. The desire to give their children 
an elementary education existed in the heads of these families, but no effort had 
been made to secure the benefits to which all looked forward with an intense 

Under the direction of David Patton, a meeting was called, at which it was 
decided to erect a log schoolhouse. This resolution was not formed to l)e 
speedily forgotten, but was acted upon at once. 

There was no plethoric treasury, there were no selfish contractors, there 
were no expensive mechanics to employ, so the men shouldered their axes, and 
in the most primitive manner constructed the most primitive schoolhouse. One 
week from the day of the meeting, the new schoolhouse was ready for use. 

A difficulty at this point, however, presented itself. The schoolhouse was 
in place, and about thirty-five pupils waiting, eager to slake their thirst for 
knowledge at the spring from which they had been so long debarred. Rut 
teachers were scarce, and none could be found to lead the young minds. 

In this extremity, Mr. Patton himself assumed the responsibility of teacher, 
opened the school about the middle of November, 1853, and taught till the 
following spring. 

Ill llie spring of 1854, ]Mr. Patton went to Lafayette, Indiana, to buy his 
supply of groceries, and while there employed a Miss Eidala Lewis, who taught 
for six months and then married. 



During' the winter of 1854-55, David Patton was again employed to teach, 
which he did with much credit to himself and great benefit to the school. 

]\Iiss Polly Dops. daughter of one of the earliest settlers, a family of the 
Button neighborhood, six miles southeast of Paxton, and favorably known by 
everyone, was engaged to teach for six months during the summer of 1855. 

A ]\Ir. Smith from IMontgomery county, Indiana, was engaged to teach the 
school in the Patton district, as it was now called, during the winter of 1855-56. 
The pupils, some of whom could attend school only a short time during the year, 
manifested great interest in their work, and pursued their studies with a wonder- 
ful zeal. 

Prospect City, now Paxton, on the Illinois Central Railroad, at this time 
gave promise of becoming an improtant business center, and many new families 
came in to share in the profits that often arise from the rapid building up and 
improving of new frontier towns. 

Among the new comers was a Rev. AV. W. Blanchard, of Urbana. Mr. 
Blanchard was engaged to teach the first school in the Upper Ten Mile, a place 
two miles further up the stream than the Patton school. This school was taught 
during the winter of 1855-56. 

The people here had not yet built a schoolhouse, but«the school was taught 
in the lean-to of the log house of the late Daniel C. Stoner, extensively and 
favorably known throughout the entire southern part of the county. 

An incident w^orthy of notice, and one that will long be remembered in that 
locality ; an incident that varied the humdrum monotony of everyday life, and 
fixed the beginning of a new era in that neighborhood, was the marriage of one 
of the pupils, Miss Barbara Stoner, to N. B. Day, one of the leading citizens of 
the young but enterprising city of Paxton. The teacher. Rev. Blanchard, solemn- 
ized the important event. A marriage is always of interest, but in a new country 
and a young community, it becomes an event of paramount importance. In this 
case the bride, ]\Irs. N. B. Day, continued an earnest student till the close of the 
term, Avhich made the event doubly important, for not every school has the 
honor to have on its roll a full-blown bride. 

Other pupils of this school were the Rev. Franklin Stoner; Jesse Todd; 
Edmund and Oliver Ilagin. 

We cannot stop to trace the history of the individual, nor give even a brief 
biography of each pupil. It is sufficient to state that nearly every member of 
these early schools filled an honorable place in the community where he resided. 

In the summer of 1856, IMr. Blanchard was engaged to teach in the log 
schoolhouse in the Patton district, District No. 1. During the follo\ving winter 


of 1856-57, i\Ir. Blanchard taught in the parlor of Mr. Patton, District No. 1, the 
old schoolhouse, which had been bnilt in 1853, and at the time of the building 
was intended as a makeshift only, having become old and useless. 

At this time the population increased so rapidly that it became necessary to 
organize new school districts. This was especially true of Paxton, a growing 
young city, but still without a schoolhouse. 

Ford county did not yet exist, but the territory constituting it was still a 
part of Vermilion county. Applicants for teachers' certificates, therefore, were 
obliged to go a distance of fifty miles or more to Danville, in order to pass an 
examination and secure certificates. The journey across the country was not 
only very fatiguing and expensive, but at times (juite impossible, and few could 
afford to make the long journey. 

In order to obviate so long a journey. Mr. Blanchard wrote to the Superin- 
tendent at Danville, stating the circumstances, and requested him to appoint JMr. 
Patton an Examining Committee for the north part of Vermilion county. The 
superintendent returned an appointment to INIessrs. Blanchard and Patton as 
such committee. This facilitated the work very much and was hailed with 
deliglit l)y all aspirants for teachers' positions. Mr. Blanchard being the 
scholar of tliis committee, did the examining, while David Patton, who was a live 
business man. attended somewhat to the general business connected with the office. 

Among the first applicants for certificate luuler the new dispensation was 
Mrs. Salina Allen, an old and experienced teacher of Whiteside county, and sister 
of the Rev. Blanchard and President Blanchard, of Knox College. 

Mrs. Allen was employed to teach the first school taught in Paxton. Among 
her pupils were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Stites, 0. B. Taft, who was after- 
ward a member of the firm of Pearsons & Taft. ]\Irs. Allen taught at different 
times with much success in the Patton and Stoner districts. 

About this time, June, 1859, Ford county was organized, and the Rev. 
Blanchard was elected the first county Superintendent of Schools in the new 

In the summer of 1859, ]\Iiss Mary A. Blanchard, daughter of President 
Blanchard, was employed to teach in the Patton district. 

New districts were now rapidly organized, one near tlie place where Elliott 
is now located in Dix township, and Mrs. Allen, who had been teaching with such 
marked success in nearly all the schools in the new county, was employed to 

In 1860, a district was organized in the western part of Dix township. A 
portion of the territory forming this school district was taken from the eastern 


part of Drummer Grove township, and was therefore called Union District. 
Harve}^ Nash was the first teacher in this school, and was followed by Mr. 
Pierpont, who finished his term, Mr. Nash having enlisted and gone to Washing- 
ton to take up arms in the defeiLse of his country. 

Other teachers in this district were Miss Carver, ]\Irs. LeFevre and ]\Iiss 
Mary Pierpont, who married Henry C. Hall, of Paxton. 

The country lying northwest of Paxton, and now known as Wall township, 
early attracted settlers to its fertile, rolling prairies. But the settlers were so 
much scattered that no united efi^ort was made to secure educational advantages 
till the year 1861. In this year, a small schoolhouse was l)uilt on the northeast 
corner of section 26, in the Noel neighborhood, and is still known as the Noel 
school, although it has been moved south one mile, and is now located on the 
northeast corner of section 35. Mr. William Noel was the first township 
treasurer of Wall township. INIiss Smith, from McLean county, was the first 
teacher to officiate in the Noel school. 

After Mrs. Allen closed her term of school in Dix township, she was engaged 
to teach during the year 1861 in a new district in the western part of Wall 
township, organized by Mr. Lytle, who afterward was a respected citizen of 
Paxton. This school was taught in a log house belonging to Mr. Lytle. Mrs. 
D. Denman, of Paxton, was one of the first pupils. In the summer of 1862, a 
school was taught in this district in the house of John Morris, by Miss Katy 
Bonesell. No schoolhouse was built in this district till 1863, when a small 
schoolhouse was erected, and euphoniously christened "String Town School." 

Mrs. Allen was an earnestly religious woman, and in addition to her school 
duties, found time to organize the first Sabbath school in Paxton, 1)eing also the 
first in Ford county. 

During the summer of 1859> Miss Loretta Goodrich taught the first school 
in the Trickle Grove schoolhouse, about five miles southeast of Paxton. 

A small schoolhouse was built in 1859, in Paxton, and Miss Jennie Lyon, 
who afterwards became Mm. Samuel L. Day, was the first teacher. This 
schoolhouse was soon outgrown, sold for a dwelling-house, and a larger one was 
built. ]\Ir. and Myh. Amyx were the teachers here for some time. Soon this 
schoolhouse also became too small, and was sold to the First Swedish Lutheran 
congregation, and was, in 1872, sold to the Baptist body. The nucleus of the 
old frame building on the present schoolhouse site on East Center street was 
then erected, and was added to from time to time, as the occasion recjuired. 

In 1890 the north wing of the present brick building on this site was erected 
at a cost of ten thousand dollars, and in 1896 was completed at a cost of about 


fifteen thousand dollars, wliic-h makes a. complete and commodious school building 
for the high school and east side grades. 

In 1902. by a vote of the people it was decided to build a briciv l)uilding on 
the west side. Accordingly the beautiful West Lawn building was erected at 
a cost of twelve thousand five hundred dollars. 

Of the teachers mentioned in connection with the history of this portion 
of the country, IMessrs. Patton and Blanchard and IMrs. Allen deserve the honor 
of doing the pioneer work. 

We have dwelt upon the details of the work done in this locality, not because 
it is of greater importance than that done elsewhere, but because the first school 
worlc was done here, and gradually spread over the entire county from this point. 

The western portion of the county, consisting of Drummer, Grove, Sullivant 
and Peach Orchard townships, early gave attention to educational work. In the 
winter of 1854-55, Dr. Davis removed from Cheeney's Grove, McLean county, to 
the western portion of Ford county, and was for several years the only settler. 
That country in time attracted its share of new comers, and in 1862 Dr. Davis 
found several families, neighbors to himself, with no educational advantages. 
Dr. Davis employed a teacher in the winter in 1863-64, to give instruction to 
his children, and, being withal a generous man, he invited the neighbors' 
children to be educated with his family. 

The first schoolhouse in this portion of the county was built in 1863, in the 
southeast part of Drummer Grove township, and is popularly known as the 
Wantwood School. 

In the summer of 1865. two new school districts were organized, tlie Powers 
Farm school and the Drunnner Grove school. The schoolhouse known as the 
Powers Farm school answered the threefold purpose of schoolhouse. church and 
public hall for several years. In 1870, the Powers Farm schoolhouse was 
removed and still serves as a dwelling house. The following year, 1871, a new 
and larger building was erected in its place, and the name was changed to Union 
School District No. 4. 

Before either of the a])ove mentioned houses were built. Miss Jennie Frew, 
of Paxton, taught in a small farm house on the farm of ^Ir. Asa Canterbury, 

The first school officers elected were Asa Canterbui-\- treasurer; L. Lavett, 
C. Palmer and J. Warner, trustees; Thomas Green, Lewis Weakman and 
Caleb McKeever, directors. 

The first teacher in the Union District was ]\liss pjiuiiia Chirk, a lady witliout 
a finger or tluimb on cither hand, but by means of an elastic band around her 


wrist, undci- which she slipjied a penholder or pencil, was able to write a very 
flood hand. By securing a switch in the same unique manner, she was enabled 
to give the obstreperous youths as nnich of the birch as was tliought necessary 
to aid an elementary education. 

The Drummer Grove sclioolhouse was erected in 1866, and in 1872 was 
removed to Gibson City, and has since then grown into an efficient graded school. 
Of the early teachers in the Drummer Grove schoolhouse, we will mention only 
a few: Arabella M. Davis, daughter of Dr. Davis, before mentioned, and 
afterward j\Irs. Weaver White; A. F. Irwin and Weaver White. 

The original Drummer Grove schoolhouse, which had been moved to Gibson 
City in 1872, soon became too small to accommodate the rapidly increasing 
school population of the enterprising young city, and it was found necessary to 
provide a larger building. The people of Gibson City, therefore, who, by the 
way, were never known to do anything in a half-way manner, erected, in 1874. a 
large and substantial brick building, at a cost of eight thousand dollars, with 
foul" elegant rooms. But so rapid was the increase in population that it became 
necessary to provide more room. Another schoolhouse was erected in 1882, and 
Gibson City is now provided with school buildings second to none in Eastern 

The entire Pan Handle, consisting of Lyman, Brenton, Pella- Mona and 
Rogers townships, was known by the name of Town of Stockton until the year 

In 1858. a petition was sent to John C. Short, who was county clerk of 
Vermilion county, asking that notices be issued and forwarded to John R. Lewis, 
to set off town 26, range 9. This was done- and the town of Brenton dates its 
organization from this time. 

About tlie same time, 1858, efforts were made to have the territory south of 
Brenton and north of Wall set apart as a distinct township, forming what is 
now Lyman township. 

A meeting to elect township trustees was held at the residence of John R. 
Lewis, January 1. 1859, and J. E. Davis, A. J. Bartlett and Saul C. Burt were 
elected township trustees. This was the first step toward popular education 
in the Pan Handle, and from tliis nucleus the work has spread over the entire 
nortliern part of the county. The trustees met for the purpose of organizing, 
February 9, 1859, at the house of A. J. Bartlett. After the organization had been 
completed, the towoaship of Brenton was divided into two school districts, the 
south half forming District No. 1, and the north half District No. 2. John R. 
Lewis was appointed township treasurer for Brenton township, and also received 


a commission from Superintendent Blanchard to examine applicants for 
teachers' certificates. Mr. Lewis filled the latter office until the election of 
James Brown, 1869. It was further provided at this meeting, that election 
notices for a school election in District No. 1 be postech and an election held in 
order that something tangible might be done in securing school privileges. 
This election was held at the house of Jacob Titus. ^Monday, February 21, 1859, 
but was adjourned to February 28. At this adjourned meeting, John R. Lewis, 
District No. 1, Brenton township. Nothing more, however, was done in secur- 
Mark Parsons and Ira Z. Congdon w^ere elected the first Board of Directors in 
ing a school at this time. There were no schoolhouses ; the dwelling houses were 
small and the obstacles that hindered school work almost nnsurmonntable. 

J. E. Davis and A. J. Bartlett, trustees, had moved from the township 
shortly after their election in the summer of 1859, and it became necessary to 
elect other trustees in their place. Accordingly a meeting for the election of 
trustees was called for February 1, 1860. At this election L. T. Bishop and T. 
W. Pope were elected. So far schools existed in theory only, and as no educa- 
tion was diffused in this way, great efforts were now made to have a school in 
reality. To further this end, John R. Lewis offered his shed lean-to for a school- 
house, which was gladly accepted. 

A Miss Annie E. Hobbis, afterward Mrs. Conrow. wife of County Superin- 
tendent Conrow, was the first teacher in the Pan Handle, beginning the school 
the first ]\Ionday in December, 1859, and continued four months. ]\Ir. Lewis, 
in addition to giving his lean-to for school purposes, furnished the fuel to keep 
the pupils w^arm, and board for the teacher for four months. For this he 
received the very liberal compensation of twenty-four dollars. 

The following summer, 1860, the firet schoolhouse in the Pan Handle was 
built on the farm of ]\Tr. Wagner, and is to this day known as the Jacob Wagner 
School. This was a small building, sixteen by twenty feet, l)ut answered the 
purpose quite well. IMiss Hobbis, who had made a record as a good teacher the 
winter before, was engaged to teach the pupils that gathered at this diminutive 

A small village. Piper City, had sprung up in District No. 2, in the northern 
part of Brenton township^ aiul it became necessary to provide means for educa- 
tion there. A small schoolhouse, probably the smallest ever built, twelve by 
twelve feet, was erected in 1865. This house was several years afterward 
displaced by a larger and more convenient school building. The first teacher 
here was Miss Mary Thompson. After the close of Miss Thompson's term, a 


IMiss Brown, who became Mrs. MeElhiney, taught in the viUao-e school. From 
this small beginniiiii;' has grown the present efificient graded school of Piper City. 

In 1900, by a vote of the people the schoolhouse site was changed to the 
south side and the present fine six room brick building was erected at a cost of 
twelve thousand five hundred dollars. 

Lyman townsliip was not far behind her sister township, Brenton, in educa- 
tional work. About the same time when Brenton township was organized, S. K. 
Marston sent in a petition to have Lyman township organized, and the organiza- 
tion of the two townships was consunmiated about the same time. In the north- 
eastern part of Lyman township are several sections of broken, rolling land, 
wliich were early settled by people from Connecticut. They chose this because 
it stood in such a decided contrast to the surrounding prairie, which to them 
looked more like a great expanse of marsh than land fit for agricultural purposes, 
and was more in conformity with the nature of the country in their Connecticut 
homes. These persons, eager for educational advantages, organized a school 
district in 1859, and Mrs. S. K. Marston was engaged to give the necessary 
instruction. This first school was taught in an upper room of Mr. Marston 's 
dwelling. Among the pupils was G. P. Lyman, brother of S. B. Lyman, ex- 
sheriff of Ford county. A schoolhouse was built in this settlement in the 
summer of 1860, and was named District No. 1. Soon after this, a district was 
organized two miles south. This was christened District No. 2, and is popularly 
knoM^i as the Larkin's District. No schoolhouse was built in this district for 
some time, but W. S. Larkins came to the rescue by giving the use of one of his 
rooms for school purposes. Here Miss Alice J. Jewell scattered the jewels of an 
elementary education among the rising generation. The second term of school 
in this district was taught in a small stable, converted into a school room, and 
Miss Jewell again presided as teacher. In 1863 or 1864 a schoolhouse was 
built, and one of the early teachers was the congenial George H. Thompson, 
extensively known throughout the entire central part of the county. 

The educational work having now fairly begun, rapidly spread over the 
entire northern portion of the county. It is impossible in brief space allotted 
to us to make mention of all townships, and furthermore, the early history of 
some of the townships is so intimately interwoven with the history of adjoining 
townships that to separate them would rob them of nuich of their interest. 

On April 18, 1870, the first election for district No. 1, township 24, range 8, 
New Melvin District, was held at the residence of Charles Phillips. There were 
only five votes cast in the district, August Buckholz, Charles Phillips and Wil- 
liam Lackey were elected as the first board of directors. In the fall of 1870 a 


small schoolhouse was built on the southeast eorner of section 2 and in April, 
1871, the first term of school began with JMiss Hattie E. ]\Iathis as teacher. 

Miss Clara B. Husten was the next teacher, followed by W. IT. Thompson 
who taught several terms. 

In the spring of 1875 at a special election it was voted to purchase a new 
site in the village of ]\Ielvin and to erect a new schoolhouse. This building was 
added to from time to time until it became a six room Imildiug and served the 
purpose of the district until 1903 when the site was changed to its present 
location and a beautiful six room brick building erected at a cost of twelve thou- 
sand five hundred dollars. 


Ford county has at the present time thirteen graded schools, and five high 
schools. One at Paxton, the county seat, one at Gibson City, Piper City, Melvin 
and Sibley. The schools at Paxton and Gibson City have for a number of years 
ranked among the best graded schools in eastern Illinois. The work of these 
schools has been so thorough and broad as to fit their graduates sufficiently to 
participate in the practical affairs of life with great efficiency. 

The graded school buildings are not only substantial and roomy, but attract- 
ive and comfortable. 


There are ninety-nine district schools in Ford county, although Ford was 
the last county organized in the state, her district schools, in the efficiency of 
the work done, are fully equal to the schools of some counties much older. 
"With but very few exceptions, the school buildings are Avell fitted for llie pur- 
pose they are intended to serve, and where the schoolhouses are small and old, 
strenuous efforts are being made to effect the needed improvements. There is 
no doubt, that in course of time, the district schools of Foi'd county will ho 
equal to the best district schools in the state. 


There are thirteen graded scliools and one hundred and nine luigraded 
schools in Ford county. Seventy-five of these schools have libraries and among 
them are five thousand four hundred and thirtv-three books. In these schools are 



four thousand one lumdred and seventy-six pupils, taught by one hundred and 
sixty-two teachers. The average monthly wage for the male teacher is seventy- 
four dollars and forty-seven cents ; for the female, forty-ojie dollars and ten 
cents. The value of school property in the county is two hundred and two 
thousand seven hundred and fifty-five dollars ; of the libraries, four thousand 
seven hundred and sixty-five dollars ; apparatus, seven thousand one hundred 
seventy-seven dollars. Total amount paid teachers in 1907, sixty-two thou- 
sand and seventv-nine dollars and sixtv-seven cents. 



The rapid development of this western country and unparalleled increase 
of the population of the United States is a marvel among nations. But the 
genius and polity of the Methodist Episcopal church has well adapted itself 
to this age of wonders ; for, while the nation 's population has increased from 
about three millions in 1784 to seventy millions in 1908, the growth of this 
denomination has been even more marvelous. Under her system "energetic, 
migratory, itinerant — ex tempore — like the population itself." as soon as the 
settlers stretched their tents or erected their cabins, they were furnished the 
privileges of the gospel. Hence we would expect to see this church early repre- 
sented in the history of Ford county. There are thirteen organizd societies 
in the county, viz: Pleasant Grove, Clarence, Paxton, Meharry's Chapel, 
Elliott, Center S. H., Gibson City, Sibley, Kemp ton, Cabery, Piper City, Rob- 
erts and ]\[elvin, with an aggregate membership of about eight hundred. There 
are six church buildings and three parsonages valued at twenty-three thou- 
sand nine hundred dollars ; thirteen Sunday schools and one thousand two hun- 
dred and seventy-four scholars, and two union schools, in the work of which 
this denomination shares. 

Pleasant Grove — The first IMethodist Episcopal Society in this territory 
was organized in 1848, at Trickel Grove, in John Dopps' log cabin, consisting 
of John Dopps, class leader, Elihu Daniels, Matthew Elliott, Thomas Short and 
members of their families. 

This was then an appointment in the Danville circuit. Services were held 
regularly in this humble home until 1857, when Flagg's schoolhouse was erected 
and that became the regular preaching place and continued to be until the 


Pleasant Grove church was built in 1869, very near the spot where Dopps' log 
cabin stood. This society and tliat of Clarence formed a part of the Rankin 

Paxton — As early as the latter part of 1856. services were held occasionally 
at tlie residence of Benjamin Stites, Paxton. Illinois, and on the first Sunday 
in ^la}^, 1857, Rev. Ilaunn organized a society at the schoolhouse. There 
appeared on record the names of IMrs. Stites, Jonathan Covolt, P. W. Cooley 
and wife, ]\Irs. Howard Case, Jonas Randolph and wife, IMr. and INIrs. 01m- 
stead, Henry Alvah and wife, and others. 

In September, 1857, Rev. E. Dunham, father of J. C. Dunham, formerly 
editor of the Paxton Register, was appointed to the Paxton circuit, then com- 
posed of the following societies, viz : Paxton, Pleasant Grove, Loda, and 
Patton's schoolhouse. At the first quarterly conference there were present Rob- 
ert Blackstock, Francis Meharry, John Dopps, ]\tatthew Elliott, John P. Dopps, 
Jonathan Covolt and Jonas Randolph. 

Rev. Dunham did valuable services in 1857-58, and, having settled on a 
farm north of town, continued to be an active and honorable member of the 
church until his death. The circuit was served consecutively by Rev. H. H. 
McVey, two years ; Rev. M. Butler, two years ; Rev. ]\I. ]M. Davidson, two years. 
At this time, 1864, the law of the church was changed, extending the pastoral 
limit to three years. 

During the pastorate of M. M. Davidson, in 1863-64, an edifice was erected, 
at a cost of eight thousand dollars. Its audience room furnished about four 
hundred sittings, and the basement was well arranged into Sunday school and 
class rooms. This society had a resident membership of two hundred, fairly 
represented by such men as Robert Blackstock, A. C Thompson. IMerton Dun- 
lap, J. M. Hanley, J. N. Bondurant, John Spindler, J. P. IMcCracken, N. B. 
Day, F. and C. Meharry, James Mercer, R. S. Hall, II. C. Rawlings, L. Corblcy> 
E. F. Earl, and J. S. Webber and J. B. Congram, local preachers. It sus- 
tained a Sunday school, under the direction of Merton Dunlap as superin- 
tendent (he held that position for many years) that would compare favorably 
with the best in enthusiasm and thoroughness of work. They had also a good 
parsonage property, well located, valued at one thousand eight hundred dol- 
lars, secured under the labors of the pastor. 

In lOO:}, a new church edifice was ])uilt, at a cost of twenty thousand dol- 
lars. The pipe organ cost two thousand dollars. 

Meharry Chapel — There had lieen services occasionally at David Patton's 
residence. Ten IMile Grove, for some years previous to 1857, when Stoner's 


sehoolhonse became the regular appointment until the erection of Meharry's 
Chapel, four miles west of Paxton, in the early part of the summer of 1864. 
This was the first church built in Ford county. It cost fourteen hundred dol- 
lars, which was principally contributed by Robert Blackstock and F. Meharr;- 
who, it should be remembered, contributed also very largely toward the erectioti 
of the church in Paxton about tlie same time. 

Gibson — Like many railroad towns of the prairie, Gibson sprang up as if 
by magic. Methodism, however, was early on the ground, and had been as 
energetic and enterprising as the village. The first regular service was held 
in the depot, and afterward in Gilmore's Hall, until the church building was 
erected, under the pastorate of Rev. Job Ingram, in 1872, at a cost of about 
two thousand five hundred dollars. Such had been the growth of the society 
that the church building was too small to accommodate either its congregations 
or Sunday school. The membership of the society is largia and it sustains the 
largest Sunday school in the county. 

Sibley — The Sibley society was organized in 1879. Rev. M. C. Wilcox 
was its first pastor, and the following names appear on the record as original 
members: W. A. Bicket and wife, W. A. Pawley and wife, John Smale and 
John Smale. 

Center schoolhouse is located in "Wall township about four miles north 
of Meharry's Chapel in the midst of a well-to-do and intelligent farming com- 
munity. While preaching services have been held here for a few years occasion- 
ally, it was not until the latter part of the year 1882, that the organization 
was effected by J. L. Miller, a very promising young man, who traveled 
the Loda circuit under the presiding elder. 

Roberts and Melvin — The Roberts and IMelvin circuit represents church 
and personal property valued at five thousand seven hundred dollars. 


This church was organized January 16, 1858. At this time the city of 
Paxton was called Prospect City. The church was organized in the name 
of the Union Church of Christ of the Middle Fork of Vermilion river. Both 
the names of the church and the city were subsequently changed. The one 
to the First Congregational, and the other to Paxton. Rev. Charles Granger, 
of Urbana, Champaign county, Illinois, was invited by Rev. William W. 
Blanchard and others to come to this new field and preach and labor to build 
\\\) a church of the Congregational order. He came in the spring of 1857 


and labored faithfully and snccessfnlly, preaehiny' in the schoolhouse. a small 
bnildinsr, now finished into a private residence, and also at different places on 
the south side of the IMiddle fork of the Vermilion river in private residences. 

His labors resulted in the organization of the church above named. Owing 
to the extent of the field, all the friends interested in the church were not 
present at its organization. But eight persons entered into covenant and con- 
stituted what is now the First Congregational church of Paxton. The meet- 
ing was held at the house of William A. Goodrich. Rev. Charles Granger 
Avas moderator, and opened the exercises with religious services. The follow- 
ing are the names of the persons who entered into covenant : Charles Granger, 
E. Granger, William W. Blanchard, Elizabeth Blanchard, Charles Wall, Wil- 
liam A. Goodrich, Betsy A. Goodrich and Loretta Goodrich. Mr. Granger 
continued to preach for about four years. His labors were blessed with prec- 
ious revival influences, and quite a number were added to the church, some of 
whom are still valuable members of the church, and others of precious memory 
have left us to join the glorious church above. I\Ir. Granger was attacked with 
paralysis, which terminated his labors. The church w^as then left without 
preaching, and brother William W. Blanchard induced Rev. E. 0. Tade, of 
Loda, to preach for us once a month at 3 o'clock P. M., until we could make 
permanent arrangements. Mr. Tade was a very young man ; his Avork was 
good and well received. Brother David IMartin, who came to us from La Salle 
county, recommended Rev. George Schlosser. of Lockport, as an able and faith- 
ful minister. 

After Brother Schlosser 's resignation. Rev. William Kopp, professor in 
Augustana College, was employed as a supply until a pastor could be obtained. 
Professor Kopp was a man of unusual intelligence and amialulity; well did 
he fill his calling. There were none but respected and loved him. lie diml 
in Pittsburg, soon after, a martyr to his faithfulness in the service of Christ. 
At this time Professor Bliss, the singing evangelist, who perished at Ashtabula, 
Ohio, who has a monument erected to his memory by the Sal)bath school chil- 
dren who sung his songs, i-econimcnded Rev. Israel Brundage, pastor of the Pres- 
byterian church in Kirkwood, Broome c(miity. New York, a suita])le niiiii for 
pastor ;iii(i available. It resulted in a cori-espondence. the extension of a unan- 
imous call, and an acceptance. Brother Brundage connnenced his labors in 
April, ]8(w, and closed his pastorate Januiii-y 1. 1874, wanting ])ut little of 
seven years. 

Soon after the i-csigiinlion of Bi-oUiei- liniiuhige. Rev. Theodore Clifton 
was called to suppl\' the pulpit. lie resigned liis pastorate October 31, 1875, 


to accept a call to the Slayflower Congregational (-Imrch of St. Louis, IMissoiiri. 
After quite a period had ehipsed in which there was only occasional preaching, 
Rev. B. F. Sargeant received and accepted a call to become pastor of the 
church June 20, 1877, and resigned his pastorate Noveiiiber 15, 1879, a little 
over two years' continuance. It was Brother Sargeant 's first charge. He was 
a young man of promise. Rev. B. F. Worrel, who was residing in Paxton, 
supplied the pulpit until the church could obtain a pastor. On October 6, 
1880, a call was extended to Rev. M. S. Crasswell to become the pastor of the 
church and was accepted. He resigned September 17, 1882. 


Early in the history of Paxton (then Prairie City) some United Presby- 
terians, feeling the want of a public worship according to their own conscien- 
tious convictions, united their efforts, and, in 1856, secured the services of 
Rev. J. P. Smart (Associate Reformed) of Xenia, Ohio, who preached the first 
sermon in the grove called "Ten ]\Iile Grove" near the Hanley homestead. 
They sang at that meeting the forty-sixth antl one hundred and twenty-first 
Psalms. Mr. Smart remained and preached the next Sabbath at Loda in a 
schoolhoiLse. ]\Irs. Margaret Hanley, who was visiting, was present at l)()fh 
of these meetings. An effort was made at the meeting of the church board 
in 1857 to secure aid and supplies, but failed. Application was then made 
to the Bloomington Presbytery, and they sent an aged man. Rev. Pollock, who 
preached two Sabbaths, and that was all of the preaching until the spring of 

1858, when Rev. Hugh McHatten visited and preached for two Sabbaths, morn- 
ing and niglit, in a little schoolhouse (the first in Paxton). During this year 
application was made to the general assembly for aid and for a minister, but 
again failed. Again application was made to the Presbytery, and were su])- 
plied about one-third of the time until the last of the year. The supplies were 
Revs. Brownlee, Black, Jeffries and Pinkerton. At a called meeting of the 
Bloomington Presbytery of the United Presbyterian Synod of Illinois, held in 
Peoria, August 23, 1859, J. AV. Pinkerton was appointed to organize a congre- 
gation at Prospect City, Ford county, Illinois. On the first Sabbath of Octo- 
ber, 1859, he preached by appointment, and on ^Monday, the 3d of October, 

1859, the organization took place at the residence of Alexander Hanley. The 
following persons were admitted as members on certificate : Hugh Andrews, 
ruling elder, and Ruth Antlrcws, his wife; Eliza Law, their daughter, all from 


the United Presbyterian congregation of Xenia, Ohio; from the same congre- 
gation, A. H. Hanley and Elizabeth K. Hanley, his wife; Miss Ella Hanley 
(afterward Mrs. McElroy) his sister; Margaret Hanley, his mother; and Miss 
Belle Alexander, from the United Presbj'terian congregation of Cedarville, 
Ohio. ]\Ir. Hugh Andrews was elected elder. The following came into the 
church by profession, as they did not have their certificates in possession : Alex- 
ander L. Elliott, William McClelland, James Canning and IMary Canning, his 
wife. Then the following persons were chosen ruling elders: A. H. Hanley, 
A. L. Elliott and William McClelland. At the next meeting of the Presby- 
tery, Rev. Pinkerton was examined and ordained. Next Saturday, October 8, 
prior to communion, J. ]\I. Hanley was admitted by examination. Rev. Hugh 
McHatten was sent once a year to Paxton to preach. This was now 1860. 
Two hundred and fifty dollars was received from the board and now services 
were held and regular prayer meetings in Hanley 's Hall. In March, 1861, 
Rev. R. IMcCracken was called. There were nineteen or twenty members. The 
church grew rapidly, and June 29 following, there were thirty-eight communi- 
cants and twenty-two families. Rev. John Trusdale was next called. The 
courthouse now being finished, members worshiped there till the church edifice 
was built. Union prayer meetings were held those days. During Rev. Trus 
dale's ministry the church edifice was dedicated in 1867. The dedication ser- 
mon was preached by Dr. Wallace, then president of IMonmouth College. The 
audience was very large and liberally assisted in wijung out a portion of the 
indebtedness. The original cost of the building was about nine thousand, 
which was entirely erased during the ministration of Rev. E. D. Campbell. 
In 1871, Rev. Trusdale was released, leaving one hundred and seventy-five 
members. The church had supplies until 1872, when a call was made to Rev. 
William Richie and accepted by him October 8. He laljorcd cariicstlN' until 
1877, beginning with one hundred and twenty members and leaving one hun- 
dred and forty-six. Again the church had supplies until a call was accepted 
by Rev. E. D. Campbell, who was muhn- shepherd for al)out tliree years. A 
lecture room was built and furnislicd. where ])rayer meetings were held; it 
was used also by the infant Sunday school class. The audience room was 
newly carpeted, and various other improvements were made. Rev. E. 1). 
Campbell and his amiable wife were zealous. Christian workers. He was reluc- 
tantly released in the spring of 1881 and again there wei-e supplies until the 
fall of the same year, when a call unaniiuousl_\- made to Rev. T. G. INIorrow 
was accepted hy him. Since then the clnircli has contiinied to prosper and 
increase in membership. About 1900, a new church edifice was built at a 


cost of fifteen thousand dollars, and possibly by the time this goes into type, 
a pipe organ will have been installed.' 


In 1863 the directors of the Angnstana College and Theological Seminary 
concluded to remove that institution from Chicago, Illinois. An offer from 
the Illinois Central Railroad Company, giving some inducements in lands, was 
accepted, and accordingly the above named institution was located at Paxton, 

Soon after this the Swedes emigrated here very fast. On the 3d day of 
June, 1863, Dr. T. N. Hasselquist called a meeting for the purpose of organiz- 
ing a congregation, which meeting was held, and the organization accomplished. 

The constitution of the Augustana Synod was adopted and the following 
officers were elected: Dr. Hasselciuist, pastor; P. Erickson, secretary; Erie 
Carlson, C. M. Johnson and Emanuel Collins, trustees ; P. Peterson, S. Ran- 
dall, C. Anderson, N. B. Nelson, J. Olson and Ewan Anderson, deacons. 

Until 1865, the services were held in the public school building. This 
l)uilding was finally purchased, and put in suitable order for the place of wor- 
ship. As the membership increased rapidly', it was soon found to be too 
small, and, in 1872, a church was built. This building was forty-five by one 
hundred feet, with a spire one hundred feet high. The cost was over ten 
thousand dollars with an additional expense of seven hundred dollars for seats. 
In 1884, a new pipe organ was purchased for twelve hundred dollars. Besides 
the regular church building, the congregation had a schoolhouse worth one 
thousand dollars. 

After 1874, when the Augustana College was removed to Rock Island, Illi- 
nois, a large number of the Swedish citizens left Paxton for Rock Island. This 
reduced the church membership, and three years later a few went out of the 
congregation, and started what is known as the Mission church, so that in 
1879 the members numbered only three hundred to four hundred. 

The founder of the congregation. Professor T. N. Plasselquist, was its pas- 
tor until 1874, at which time he was obliged to leave and follow the Augustana 
College and Theological Seminary to Rock Island, having been president of 
that institution for nearly a quarter of a century. 

This congregation built and dedicated in lf)()8, a iiaiidsome new church 
edifice, at a cost of about thirty thousand dollai-s, and at the same time bought 
a pipe organ for twenty-three hundred dollars. 



This church was organized in November, 1878, with a membership of sev- 
enty. Rev. A. P. Palmquist was the first pastor. For a time services were 
held in a hall until the present church lots were purchased at an expense of 
six hundred dollars, and a church building was erected at an expense of one 
thousand five hundred dollars. 


This church was organized November 1, 1867, by a committee of the Pres- 
bj'tery of Bloomington, consisting of Rev. Alexander G. Wilson and Elder W. 
P. Pierson. 

The organization was made in response to a petition from a number of the 
residents of Paxton, who, having been reared as Presbyterians, desired to con- 
tinue in that faith and order. Twenty-three persons were received by letter 
from various churches, principally in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Sabbath 
following, Joseph E. Hall and Charles R. Strauss were ordained and installed 
elders of the new church, and Benjamin Q. Cherry and James D. Kilgore, 

The place of organization was Clark's Hall; and services were continued 
there until Jul^', 1873, when the congregation moved into their new house of 
worship, erected on the southeast corner of Vermilion and Center streets. 

The two lots on which it stands were donated by I\lr. William Pells, and 
the church, in addition to their own struggle with limited means, had the kindly 
assistance of several persons not members, in the erection of the building. It 
was in the Gothic style, with rose-windows in the front and rear, and colored 
windows on each side, llie latter the gift of individuals and of classes in the 
Sabbath school, and of some of the sister churches in the town. 

For the first year preaching was enjoyed about once a month. In the 
spring of 1869, Rev. J. A. Calhoun was elected the first pastor and continued 
his services one year. From July, 1870, to April, 1871, Rev. Mr. Noerr min- 
istered to the people. Difl:'erent ministers supplied in the iuterini between 
April. 1871, and 1872. In the spring of 1872, Rev. J. L. McNair was elected 
l)astor ;ind was willi the cIru'cIi until April, 187;"). Another vacancy depend- 
ent on supplies, (luring which Rev. C. IT. Planch.u'd supplied the church one 
year. Rev. A. F. Irwin served as pastor from Api'il, 1877, to January 1, 



1881. The ensuing year, Rev. E. B. IMiner served as stated supply. In 
November, 1882, Rev. John Barbour commenced suppl3dng the pulpit and 
remained with the church until April, 188-1, from April, 1883, as pastor-elect. 
The present church edifice was erected in 1902. 


This church was organized April, 1872. F. S. Church, Mrs. F. S. Church, 
Mrs. ]\Iary Cornell, Mrs. Mary Davis, James Elliott, Mrs. James Elliott, Jos- 
eph H. Elliott, E. Haas, Mrs. E. Haas, W. T. Kerr, Mrs. W. T. Kerr, IMrs. 
William Moyer, Mrs. Lucy Robbins, Charles E. Wilson, Mrs. Charles E. Wil- 
son and a few others composed the first membership. N. L. Sears, Mrs. N. L. 
Sears, Austin Crabbs, Mrs. Austin Crabbs, M. T. Burwell, Mrs. ]\I. T. Burwell, 
soon afterward united. The church edifice, valued at two thousand dollars, 
was erected in 1873. It was dedicated by Rev. Samuel Fallows, D. D., Sep- 
tember, 1874. Rev. Job Ingram was the first pastor. The first trustees were 
James Elliott, F. S. Church, W. T. Kerr, E. Haas and Charles E. Wilson. 

The trustees purchased a house for a parsonage in 1882, and made an 
extensive addition to it in the fall of 1883. The Sunday school was organized 
March, 1873. 


This church was organized in 1877 by Rev. Aaron Ward. The original 
members were Mark Anthony, INIelissa Anthony, Bettie Manson, Ellen Smith, 
Allen Spickard and wife. The church building was erected in 1879, the esti- 
mated value being six hundred dollars. 


The organization of this church took place on Saturday, October 28, 1871, 
in Union schoolhouse, five miles northwest of Gibson. Rev. R. A. Criswell, of 
Normal, Elders O. Scott, of Farmer City, and Henry Rayburn, of Saybrook, 
constituted the committee appointed by the Presbytery of Bloomington to effect 
the organization of the society. To the Rev. Criswell belongs the honor of 
calling the attention of the Presbytery to this field for the establishment of 
a church, and to his faithful labors in earlier years its existence is due. The 
original members were Fabius Fleming, Mary B. Fleming, William S. Graham, 


Ruth S. Graham, Ruth E. Gilmore, IMartlia Moyer, J. Wiley Moore, Isabelle 11. 
Moore, Sarah E. McKeener, David Newman, James Parr, Mrs. E. F. Parr, John 
W. Rodgers, James M. Sudduth, Amanda Sudduth, Alice Sudduth, Sarah J. 
West. William Sudduth. Some time in July, 187-1, the fouiulation of a Gothic 
frame, designed by G. P. Randall, of Chicago, was laid, but, owing to a threat- 
ened failure of the corn crop, work was postponed until September, when, the 
prospect looking brighter, work was resumed; but various and vexatious delays 
prevented the completion until July, 1875. The building was valued at three 
thousand five hundred dollars, and furniture at about eight hundred dollars. 
The Rev. R. A. Criswell acted as pastor from the organization until October, 
1875. Thereafter, for three years, the congregation was dependent upon tem- 
porary supplies — chiefly students from the Northwestern Theological Seminary. 
Rev. F. W. Iddings acted as pastor for about six months during this time, and 
Rev. R. M. Stevenson about one year. In the spring of 1878, Rev. T. F. Boyd 
was called as pastor, and served nearly a year. In the spring of 1879, Rev. H. 
Vallette "Warren assumed pastoral charge of the church. The original elders 
were J. Wiley Moore, Fabius Fleming. ]\Ir. Fleming served for eight years. 
The deacons were James Parr and John W. Rodgers, the latter serving three 

In 1905, a new church edifice was erected, at a cost of twenty thousand 

It may not be out of place to mention here some of the difficulties which 
o])posed the church in its early history, taken from a brief sketcli written ))y 
Dr. J. M. Waters: "The congregation was widely scattered through the 
country, the roads being new and frequently impassable, and there were so few 
members in town that it seemed impracticable to sustain a ])i'ayer meeting. 
When there was preaching it was only on alternate Sabbaths, and the minister 
was unable to spend much time beyond the Sabbath with them. The elders, 
like everybody else in the new coiiiniiinity, were l)usy with necessary secular worlc, 
and I'oi- a, long time the congregation hardly knew such a thing as pastoral care. 

''The members meeting only on the Sabbath, and often prevented I'oi' long 
periods from this by unfavorabh' weather and had I'onds, reiiuiined almost 
strangers to each other, and were slow to ac({uire that sympathy and confidence 
in eacli other which Ix'tter ac<|uaintance would have bred. For such causes 
they sonietinu's I'elt even weaker than the\' I'ealiy were. The members were 
l)oor, almost all in debt, and lhes(^ early years of the chui'ch were times of gener- 
al financial stringency, Ix'coming gradually worse. In tlu' winter of 187(5, men 
oi' good credit paid eighteen per cent in bani\ for money." 



The Cumberland Presbyterian chiireh of Gibson was formerly organized 
under the name of the Hopewell congregation, at Drummer Grove schoolhouse, 
one mile northwest of Gibson. The original organization was effected Decem- 
ber 19, 1868, by the Rev. J. R. Lowrance, who afterward moved to Lincoln, 
Illinois, with the following members, twenty-two in all : James Iloaston, 
Matthew Speedie, Isabelle Speedie, James M. JMore, James J. Houston, Jane J. 
Houston, Catharine Gilchrist, William S. Thompson, Agnes ^I. Thompson, H. 
H. McClure, Susan E. McClure, Hattie N. McClure, Finis W. McClure, Francis 
McClure, AugiLsta McClure, T. B. Crigler, Sarah Crigler, ]Martlia More, Ann 
Arigler. Under the care of ^Mackinaw Presbytery of the Cumberland Pres- 
byterian church, yet without a settled pastor, the congregation continued to 
worship at the above named schoolhouse until the winter of 1872, when the need 
of a church building more fully asserted itself. Accordingly, at a meeting of 
the congregation on the 14th of April, 1873, it was determined to enter at once 
upon the erection of a suitable house for worship, and three trustees were 
elected, subscriptions taken, and the work started. The names of the trustees 
elected at this meeting were : John T. ]\IcClure, Winston Meeks and T. D. Spanld- 
ing. Agreeable to the genius of the vote of the meeting of April li, 1873, the 
building was erected at a cost of two thousand six hundred dollars. 


In the year 1875, the quarterly conference of the Elliott charge appointed 
a board of trustees, consisting of C. J. Buchmer, J. C. Thornton, Peter Maine, 
Sr., Rev. L. L. Rinehart, and John Wagner, Esq., to take under advisement the 
feasibility of building a church house for the United P.rethreii in Christ in Gib- 
son. There was at this time no society of said church in Gibson, and only one 
of the newly appointed trustees lived there. In the following August IMr. C. J. 
Buchmer, seconded by only a few friends, began the erection of ^hat is now 
known as the "Brethren Church in Gibson," and on the 8th day of January 
following, 1876, it was finished and dedicated to the service of God. 

This thenceforth became one of the appointments of the Elliott charge, the 
other three were Elliot. Antioch schoolhouse and the AVagner appointment. 
Rev. F. R. Mitchel was the pastor, serving his second year on the cluirge. 
During the year 1876, he organized a United Brethren society in Gibson, con- 
sisting of the following members : C. J. Buchmer and wife, Mrs. Mary Emmons, 


Peter and Elizabeth Maine, husband and wife, ]\Ir. M. Kerr and wife, Rev. L. L. 
Rinehart and wife, and two cliildren, Miss Hattie and Samuel, Howard Griffith, 
Elizabeth Griffith, Laura Griffith, Sidna Griffith and Maria Griffith, and Mr. J. E. 

Remaining a part of the Elliott charge until the fall of 188:1 when it was 
made a station, it was favored with preaching, on an average, once in two weeks. 


This church was built in 1891, at a cost of ten thousand dollars. 

Other churches in Gibson all practically rebuilt within the past few years. 


This church was organized at Gibson in 1875. The orignal members were 
John Delaney, John Sutton, Thomas Tierney, Patrick Ilarty, Michael Harty, 
Con Hardigan, James Molloy, John Donnelya, Michael Donovan, IMiehael Ryan, 
John and Jeff New, John Garden and others to the number of twenty-five. 

In 1876, the church building was erected at a cost of one thousand one 
hundred dollars. 


TTutil 1875, there was no Congregational church in Lyman township. Rev. 
Wilcox, father of M. TL Wilcox, preached at stated times in the Smith school- 
house in the northern part of Lyman township, and the i)(H)i)le gemn-ally 
attended service regardless of denominational differences but no organization 


The Congregational chui-ch of Roberts was organized October 24. 1875, 
with the following exercises: Sermon and reading of covenant by the Rev. 
J. E. Ray, D. D. ; prayer by A. D. Wyckoff, and right hand of fellowship by 
Rev. J. J. Weage. 

The membership at the lime of organization was very small, consisting of 
only ten persons: A. D. Wyckoff, George H. Thompson, ]\Iary E. Thompson, 
W. S. Larkin, Elizabetli Larkin, John Hummel, Sarah M. Hummel, Frank But- 
ler, Lucy Larkin and OliVe Larkin. 

The first business meeting of the church was held at the house of G. II. 
Tliomi)son, October 81, 1875. At this meeting, G. H. Thompson and John 


Hummel were elected deacons. W. -S. Larkin was elected trustee of the church 
for three years, and W. A. Kcrirney and J. B. jMescrve, respectively two and 
one years, were elected trustees of the Congregational society. Frank Butler 
was elected clerk. 

On the 6th of November, 1875, C. Manton, who the following year removed 
to Texas, united with the church on profession of faith. This was the first 
accession of the church. The small body, in connection with the Congrega- 
tional church at Thawville, struggled on as best it could, receiving annually 
Home Missionary aid. 

In March, 1877, the church received its second accession of membership, 
consisting of the following persons: G. B. Mahaflfey, Walter Davis. E. M. 
IMahaffey, Nellie D. Mahaffey, Helen L. Wyckoff, Amanda Emmons, F. G. 
Lohman and Louisa Tapp. 

During the first four years of its existence, the society had no house of 
worship, but the services were held in the town hall. 

In the fall of 1879, a church building, fort>' l)y fifty-five .feet, was begun. 
This building* was completed in May, 1880, and dedicated to the worship of God, 
May 16, 1880, free from all incumbrances. 

Since its organization, the church has been blessed with earnest, efficient 
pastors, who considered the work of saving souls paramount to everything else. 

]\Iay 17, 1908, a handsome new Congregational church was dedicated with 
impressive ceremonies. The dedication was the crowning event that marked 
the close of the laljors of the members of the congregation, who have been inde- 
fatigable in their work and self-denial in order to obtain the necessary funds 
to complete the work. The decorations were elaborate and the church was 
crowded with members of the congregation, friends and mnnerous former mem- 
bers who now reside in other places but returned to participate in the ser- 
vices. A number of former pastors also wrote letters of congratulation to the 
members on their success. One service was held at 10:30 A. M. and another 
at 3:30 V. M. Rev. G. G. McCullom, of Chicago, preached at each service, 
and there was an elaborate musical program at each service. The church was 
dedicated free from debt. 


The ]\Iethodist Episcopal chuivh organized German missions as early as 
1868, witli head(iuarters at Odell, Livingston county; later at Buckley, Iroquois 


county. Services were held at private houses, aud tlicu. as the membership 
increased, in the pu])lic schoolhouses. 

When the viUaiie of Roberts came to be. it was resolved to l)uikl a church. 
The first board of trustees, consisting' of John (Jnil)c. Frank Bastian. Henry 
Michaelis, John Wieting- and Fred llaug, witli their pastor, Rev. Fr. ]\Ieier, 
as chairman, on the 18th da\- of February, 1873, passed a resolution to that 
effect and acted npon it accordingly, building a church, with spire, that cost 
nearly two thousand four hiuidred dollars, being the hrst house of worship 
erected in the village of Roberts. But its old and trusted members have left — 
emigrated to Dakota, Iowa and Texas. 


This church was formerly a part of Pierce's Mission as described in the 
account of the Methodist church at Melvin. The first preaching place was 
Graham's schoolhouse, and was changed to Roberts in 1871. The members of 
the first class were Ole Johnson, leader; Anna Johnson, Edward Van Steen- 
bergh, Emily Van Steenbergh, Jennie Van Steenbergh. J. H. Sedore, INlrs. A. 
A. Sedore, Abraham Sedore, George P. Lyman, Helen Lyman, Alfred Smith, 
Julis Smith, Horace Lester, Hannah Lester, John Kenward, Nancy Kenward, 
William Kenward, Julius Walker, Joel Westbrook, Patience Westb^'ook, Horace 
Snelliug, Jane Snelling, Robert Hawthorn, Sarah Arnold, ThomrTs Darg, James 
English, Charles Koon, John Kenward, Jr., Hamilton Darg and Caroline Guise. 
They held their meetings in the public schoolhouse at Roberts, until January 6, 
1882, Avhen they completed a very neat church at a cost of two thousand eight 
hundred dollars. This church was dedicated by G. W. Gue, presiding elder. 
The first board of trustees consisted of Thomas Wakelin, M. H. Rice, G. B. 
Gordon, G. P. Lyman and E. Van Steenbergh. 


Report of the Evangelical Association ]\Iission work in Ford county: In 
the year of our Lord, 1865, Ihe Illinois Conference of this denomination met at 
Washington, Tazewell county, Illinois. This con Terence, at this session, created 
a new mission in tlie counties of Ijivingston. .Abdjcan and Foi'd. Ren'. F. C 
Stuewig was the first migsioimry, in tliis important mission, t(» carry on the 
Lord's work. He settled down with his family in the little station of Chats- 
worth, Livingston county, Illinois. The mission in Ford county began on the 


Ttli (la\- of June. 1865. The first visit \v;is made at Brother Peter Pfaad's. 
Brotlier Pfaad came here with his family in the year 1858, from Lyons, New 
York. Mr. Stuewig then l)ei;;ni to hokl service every three weeks in the P. 
Rnssell schoolhoiise, and also in the honse of Kathrine Althen. On his second 
visit he became acquaintt'd with the followinp' persons: Kathrine Althen and 
family, Christian IMoser, Annie Wilcoxson and other German people who lived 
in that community. The following: winter he held a protracted meeting with 
good success. On the 18th of February, 1866, he organized the first German 
class in this new mission. Avith the following persons as members: Peter Pfaad, 
IMargret Pfaad, Kathrine Althen, ]\Iargret Leber, George Parreck. Louisa Bar- 
reck, Lydia Barreck, Cathrene Barreck, Christian Moser, Annie Wilcoxson. 
Peter Pfaad Avas the first class leader. German people came to see the country, 
and, being pleased Avith the prairie land, many bought homes and settled here. 
This was a help to the small society, its membership greAV rapidly, and by the 
help of God they were able to build a church in the year of our Lord, 1873. 
The church Avas dedicated by Bishop J. J. Esher. 

The preacher in charge at this time was Rev. J. Kurtz. The first officers 
in Zion Church Evangelical Association were the follovAdng: Rev. Henry 
Baker, Daniel Raabe, Abraham Shaffer, Christian Stutzman, Peter Pfaad. 


This society began its existence in Champaign county about one-half mile 
south of where the church building uoav stands on the southeast corner of the 
north half of section 81. The first services held in this county Avere in the 
Union schoolhouse, one-half mile north of the church, under the pastorate of 
Rev. J. Krapps, in 1874. Among the original members were J. Cranston and 
Avife, i\Irs. J. Daniels, Mrs. J. Barker, Mrs. D. Metcalf and Mrs. G. Waggoner. 
After the pastoral term of Rev. Krapps, the Annual Conference sent Rev. R. E. 
Fox. The erection of the church building commenced in the fall of 1881, and 
was completed and dedicated in the summer of 1882. The building cost about 
twelve hundred dollars, and stands as a monument to the generosity of the 
entire community. The first trustees elected August 30, 1881, were M. W. 
Scott, J. G. Barker, Henry Shields, J. Daniels and William Day. 


The first NorAA^egians to settle in this county Avere Christopher Ryerson 
and Henry Halverson. They came here from Otter Creek, La Salle county, 


Illinois, and located some fonr or five miles northwest from Elliott. Our best 
information is that they came here about 1866. They were followed by Abel 
Hanson in 1871. Mr. Hanson formerly lived in or near Lisbon, Kendall 
county, Illinois. He at first rented lands, but, liaving succeeded reasonably 
well, he boug'lit eighty acres one mile south of Elliott. 

Tolleff Thompson, also from Lisbon, is the next in order. Like Mr. Han- 
son, he also rented lands to begin with, but a few years of hard work made it 
possible for him to become the owner of a fine farm a few miles southeast of 

John A. Hatteberg and Ole Natterstad bought land, and settled three miles 
southeast from Elliott, in the year 1875. 

These two were followed in turn by Thomas Pederson, Osmon Osmonson 
and Halward Osmonson. 

Ford county had by this time become famous to the people around Lisbon, 
Illinois, and a general "exodus" to this county took place in the years that 
followed. IMost of the Norwegians round about Elliott are from Kendall and 
Grundy counties, in this state. Perhaps one-fourth came direct from Norway. 
Tlie Norwegians are of a very pious turn of mind. They are strictly honest, 
industrious and thriving. One of their number says that "with them the all- 
absorbing topics when they meet are religion, the weather and the crops." Their 
prosperity is surprising to a native American of the easy-going sort. 

They had not been here long before they organized themselves into a con- 
gregation. The first step in this direction was made in 1876. Rev. Iverson 
gathered a flock of the faithful, and continued to preach for them at intervals 
for a portion of the years 1876 and 1877. He was succeeded by Rev. G. J. 
Omland, a graduate from the Norwegian Lutheran Evangelical Theological Sem- 
inary at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to which denomination this congregation 
belongs. Rev. Omland was their pastor from 1877 to 1881. Their place of 
meeting had been, previous to 1881, in what are known as the Kleppa and 
Bunch schoolhouses, districts 6 and 7. 

But in the year 1881, they built a modest structure on section 25, town 23 
(Dix) which has since been their customary place of worship. The building 
is fifty-six feet long, thirty-six feet wide, and eighteen feet high, with a steeple 
towering seventy feet into the sky. The work was chiefly done by members 
of the congregation, gratis of course, superintended by Charles Johnson, Thor 
0. Thorson and the Seim Brothers. The total cost was three thousand dol- 
lars, two-thirds of which was raised immediately by voluntary subscription ; 
1883 witnessed the erection of a neat and snug building for the pastor's resi- 



dence. Total cost of this, iueluding ten acres of land, was twelve hundred 
dollars. The parsonage is one-half mile west of the church, on section 26. 


At Farmersville, in the midst of a remarkahly flourishing settlement of 
Swedes, is a prosperous church of Swedish Lutherans. The church building 
located on section 30, Patton township, is a commodious structure. There is 
also a well built parsonage. This church is in a very satisfactory condition. 

At Gibson are two Swedish churches, one of them being the Swedish Luth- 
eran and the other of the Swedish IMission. These societies have houses of 


From the earliest settlement of the locality now included in Button town- 
ship, the Christian denomination had its ministers early on the ground. In 
fact, some of these ministers were among the pioneer settlers. The several 
organizations or societies of this denomination were in 1871 reorganized and 
united under the name given at the head of this article. 

The church building was dedicated December 10, 1871, the dedication sermon 
being delivered by Elder R. ]\I. Martin, of Danville, Illinois. The membership 
of the organization numbered about forty, which are as follows : ]\Iars- 
ton Dudley, Milton Strayer, John M. Strayer, T. B. Strayer, William Walker, 
David Morehouse, W. H. TI. Wood, J. A. Dudley, Henry Correll, John Correll, 
Joseph Harris, John B. Harris, Daniel Allhands, and their wives, also Sarah 
Button, Elizabeth Strayer, Mary E. Spiceard, F. L. Holloway, ]\I. E. Dudley, 
S. J. Strayer, Dora Strayer, Mary Strayer, Sarah 0. Walker, Oswell H. Walker, 
and Mrs. Glotfelter. 

Soon after the dedicatory services, the organization was perfected with the 
following officers : Elder R. M. Martin, pastor ; IMarston Dudley and William 
Walker, elders; Harmon Strayer and T. B. Strayer, deacons. 

The church edifice which is situated on a handsome knoll in South Button, 
is of l)ri('k. It is thirty l)y forty feet, with sixteen feet to ceiling. 


This church was organized at Sibley (then Burr Oaks) January 6, 1879. 
Nils Poison and Gust Fager were the first deacons elected. Swen Anderson 


and C. L. Seaholm were the first trustees, and Swen Anderson was the first 
secretary. The eonjrregation was organized under the leadership of Pastor 0. 
Tjamshiud, and is under and within the Swedisli Evangelical Lutheran Synod 
of United States of America. 


This church was organized September 26, 1869. The names of the origi- 
nal meni])ers are D. F. Breneisa, Peter Minich, Samuel Leopold, Joseph Leo- 
pold, R. C. Breneisa, Henry Kaufman, Joseph Lnhoff, John Geen. IMrs. Susan 
]\linicli. ]\Iiss Emma INIinich. Mrs. Sarah A. Leopold, Mrs. Anna Breneisa, Mrs. 
Catharine Leopokh IMrs. ]\Iary Inihoff, I\Iiss Kate Breneisa, Miss Fannie Bren- 
eisa, ]\Irs. Fred Falter. 

The Union Bethel was b\iilt in the spring of 1873, at a cost of five hundred 
dollars. The house was dedicated by Elder J. INI. Cassel. 

Elder William Smith preached from October, 1869, to October, 1872 ; Elder 
J. M. Cassel preached from October, 1872, to October, 1874 ; Elder W. B. Allen 
preached from October, 1874, to October, ]876; Elder George Cutler preached 
from October, 1876, to October, 1877; Elder W. A. Smith preached from Octo- 
ber, 1877, to October, 1878; Elder A. J. Fenton preached from October, 1878, 
to October, 1880; Elders John Burnard and Oscar Huston preached from Octo- 
ber, 1880, to October, 1881 ; Elder W. A. Smith preached from October, 1881, 
to October, 1884. 

This society reject infant baptism, and practice immersion and the literal 
washing of the saints' feet as appointed ordinances, and believe in the personal 
reign of Christ. They reject all creeds and take the New Testament for their 

In 1884, the Church of God built a college at Findlay, Ohio, at a cost of 
one hundred thousand dollars. 


'^Phc organization known ;is SugJii' Loaf api)ointni('iit ol' the Methodist Epis- 
copal clnirch was first effected in the fall of 1872, in what was called the Bute 
schoolhouse. in district No. 3, ]\lona townshiji. Previous to this time, there 
had been occasional preaching in that neighboi'hood by Rev. JMichael Lewis, 
better known as Father Lewis. 


There were but few nienibers at first, but these took hold iu earuest, and 
soon others eanie in, forming a larger and more firmly established organiza- 
tion. The original members of this elnirth were as follows : ]\Ir. and INIrs. 
Thomas Kelley, ]\Ir. and ]\Irs. George Sherman, Mr. and ]\Irs. Nelson Lewis, Mr. 
and ^Irs. James Wade. ^Ir. and IMrs. Thomas Heavisides, Mrn. Jaekson Bute, 
Mrs. David Keighin, Mr. and Mrs. George Evans, Father Lewis and wife. 

Until the town hall was built, the society worshiped in the Bute school- 
house, but after completion of the hall in 1877, the meetings were held there. 
When the village of Kempton sprang up in 1877, the place of worship was 
transferred to a hall in the village. In the fall of 1881, steps were taken to 
build a house of worship in Kempton; the following spring the work was com- 
menced, resulting iu the erection of a neat and commodious church edifice, 
costing about two thousand dollars. 

The first pastor of the church was Rev. J. D. Calhoun, who preached one 
year; this was his first appointment. He was followed by Rev. Rutledge, 
who was in charge for a year. The next pastor was Rev. Woodward, who 
remained one year; and his successor was Rev. J. A. Flowers, whose term 
lasted two years. Following him came Rev. Wilson, who preached two years. 
Rev. Joe Bell succeeded him and was in charge three years. 

Robert Le\nn, Thomas Heavisides. Andrew Stuart and Thomas Shaw have 
acted as stewards at various times. 


This church was first organized November 26, 1871. It sprung from 
what was known as Pierce's Mission. Father Pierce, an old Scotch local 
preacher living at "Olive Grove," came into Peach Orchard township and 
established a regular preaching place at Grand Prairie schoolhouse in 1869, 
which, with similar preaching places in neighboring townships was called 
Pierce's Mission. When the village of Melvin was started the Grand Prairie 
appointment was moved to Melvin. Its name was changed to the IMethodist 
Episcopal church, with Rev. T. P. Henry as first pastor on a circuit of three 
appointments, namely, IMelvin, Roberts and Bell schoolhouse, Ole Johnson, 
James Dixon, Charles Phillips and T. D. Thompson, being the first board of 
stewards, Charles Phillips, IMary Phillips, William Thompson, T. D. Thompson, 
Mrs. T. D. Thompson, Alexander Stevens, Mariah Stevens and Jane Ogden 
forming the first class at IMelvin, with Charles Phillips as leader. Meetings 
were held in the schoolhouse and hall until the fall of 1879, when the society 


began the erection of a cluireli. wliicli was eompleted in the spring of 1880, 
at a cost of two thousand four hundred dollars, and dedicated June 20, 1880, 
])y W. IT. II. Adams, president of the Wesleyan University of Bloomington, 
Illinois; Thomas Fletcher, Alex Yarbrough, L. »S. Heath, Henry Halverson, 
J. H. Hig'gason, "W. J. Hunt, J. M. Thompson and T. D. Thompson, being the 
first board of trustees. 


This society' was organized in Peach Orchard township in 1870, with ten 
members, l)y Rev. p]. J. Funk of Chicago German Conference. 

The first class was composed of the following members : H. Duringer 
and wife. Ties Arends and wife, George 0. Arends and wife, A. Ilellman and 
wife, and Gerhard Defries and wife. Meetings were first held at farm houses. 
After the village of ]\Ielvin was started, they moved into town. In 1875 
they bought the old schoolhouse which stood a half mile south of town, moved 
it up into town, fitted it up, and used it for church until 1881, when they built 
a new church at a cost of one thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars. It 
was dedicated November 20, by Peter Ilinners, of Chicago. 


The name of the organization is as above stated, but it is called St. Peter's 
congregation. This society was organized Octo])er 20, 1872. The original 
members were F. Beck, M. Otto, II. Schnelle, II. Spellmeyer, W. Fabel. II. 
Steinman, :\r. Tnnn. 0. Defries, W. Ilafer, F. Bretting, J. ITinse, G. Beck. A. 
Loeinga. R. Freese, A. Mohr. These members erected a building in tlu' spring 
of 1873, valued at eleven hundred dollars. 

From the time of organization until Jidy 5, 1875, Rev. Simon Surj was 
minister of the congregation. From the latter date until April 7, 1878, Rev. 
II. l!e])ler was the minister. 


Tills cluircli was organized two and a half miles north from Elliott, at 
Samuel Todd's house, in the winter of 18()2. The original iiieiiibei-s wei'e 
Samuel and Nancy Todd, Jackson and America IMtsei', Pet(>r Beatty and wife, 
John Wallace's family. John and Jemima Coodi'i', Jesse and Rosanna Todd, 


Messrs. Darg, Hawthorne, Triekel and their wives, John Keesey and wife, John 
]\reBride and wife, and others to the number of forty. 

In 1872 a church was erected iu the vilhige of Elliott at a cost of one 
thousand dollars. 



The history of the newspapers of Ford county, and especially those of Pax- 
ton, has been one of successes and reverses, of hard struggle for existence, and 
brilliant victory in the face of defiant opposition. The newspaper business 
is an occupation in which is brought into play some of the best and keenest 
([ualities of a man's nature, and in which may also be displayed, on occasion, 
some of the lowest characteristics. It, in fact, may be represented as a bat- 
tle, in which the cohorts are brought face to face with one another in a war 
of words, and in which he who holds the best command of himself and his 
forces is sure to prevail. The hosts of sin are encamped on one side, and the 
forces of good upon the other, and the Aveal or woe, the destiny of a town or 
city, or it may be of a nation, may rest upon the conduct of a single news- 
paper. It is a potent factor for good or ill in any comnumity, which is an 
alhimportant reason that it should be in the hands of men of brains, who have 
the good and not the ill of the community at heart, and who will work for its 
upbuilding and best interests. 

The first paper established in Ford county of which we have any record, 
was the Ford County Union, started in the year 1864, and which liad a pre- 
carious existence of onlj' a few months, when it was purchased b^^ N. E. Stev- 
ens, in February, 1865. He changed the name to the Paxton Record, and has 
continued its publication ever since. The policy of the paper has been 
uncompromisingly republican from its very foundation, even from the time 
when the country was closing a war that threatened its very life blood. 
Through nineteen years of changing life, through seasons of adversity, of bit- 
ter strife and debate, as well as in the more pleasant times of peace, it has 
steadily pressed forward until the present time, and now stands on a firm basis 
of assured prosperity, demonstrating the fact that continuous policy is the 
best for a country newspaper. In 1881, IMr. Stevens associated with him his 
son, Edgar N. Stevens, and the paper has been continued since under the firm 


name of N. E. Stevens & Son, with no change in the policy of the paper. The 
paper now occupies a building of its own on north ^Market street, a good loca- 
tion, and is enjoying a season of unwonted prosperity. 

The Stevens, in the fall of 1897. started a daily paper and are running it 
at this time. It is a seven column folio. 

The Ford County Liberal, conducted by Charles D. Sibley, was the next 
paper issued in Paxton. The first numlier was published on the 17th day 
of August, 1872. It was an eight column folio, neatly printed and ably 
edited. In October of the same year, Thomas Wolfe became associated with 
]Mr. Sibley in the editorial management of the paper, and in the following 
month took full possession. The aim of this sheet was to furnish a live, local 
paper, that should chronicle all the news of the day, and at the same time fur- 
nish its Liberal and Greenback friends with arguments for their cause. The 
office was on a paying basis, when, in October, 1874, under the management 
of Messrs. Wolfe & Dodd, the building occupied and its effects were burned. 
The paper w^as never resurrected. 

The Ford County Blade was the child of a day, started by JMessrs. Creed 
& Doxsey, of Bloomington, on the 1st day of July, 1876, upon the supposi- 
tion that Paxton needed another local paper and to awaken a deeper interest 
in i)olitics among the democratic fraternity in this immediate vicinity. This 
firm published a newsy local paper for the brief term of twentA'-four weeks, 
but was finally obliged to succumb to the inevitable. On the 9tli day of 
December of the same year, the past paper was issued. The failure to estab- 
lish a paper was ascribed to the fact that the business was not lierc^ to support 
two live papers — evidently a sensible conclusion. Among others to whom 
credit was given by this firm for favors shown, was Mr. Stevens, of the Record. 

Nearly a year elapsed before the next paper appeared, when another firm 
from Bloomington i)ut in the material for a job and newspaper office. IMessrs. 
Holmes & Colvin christened their paper the Ford Connt\- News, and on the 8d 
of November, 1877, started out from a republican standpoint to ])ublisli a 
[)a])er well tinged with that doctrine, and also to make it replete with general 
local matter. The last issue appeared on the IDth of January. 1878, these 
parties having fonnd that llie field of repul)licanism in the county was well 

The Weekly Standard, by the same publishers, appeared on the 2()th of 
Janiiai'\-, 1878. Like the two other pa])ers last mentioned, it was five column 
quarto, and, in reality, a continuance of the News, but espoused the Greenback 
cause. 'i'he Standai'd was longer lived llian its immediate ])i-edecessors, and 


ARY 1, ISf.'j 


hung on with a pertinancity worthy of a better cause until 1879, when it suc- 
cumbed to the inevitable, the field not being broad enough for its proper 

The first edition of the Appeal was published on the 26th of November, 
1879. It was an organ of the Greenback party, with Thomas Wolfe as editor, 
and B. F. Hill, publisher. About the 1st of September, 1880, the property 
was purchased by J. C. Dmiham, who, in January, 1881, changed the name of 
the paper to the Eastern Illinois Register. The policy of the paper was 
announced as Greenback. This is an independent democratic paper, published 
at Paxton. It is the result of a consolidation of the Loda Register, Gilman 
Sun, Paxton Appeal and Gibson Press, the first of which was established in 
1875, by J. C. Dunham. J. Wallace Dunnan took charge of the paper in 
1900, and has ably edited it up to the present time. 

The Pan-Handle Advocate was started April 20, 1883, by F. H. Robertson. 
During the succeeding suunuer Judge Beach succeeded Mr. Robertson in the 
proprietorship of the paper. It is a six column quarto. It has been an inde- 
pendent journal, a paper expressly for the people, clean, straightforward and 
thoroughly representative, social, religious, political, industrial, etc. In short, 
it aspires to be the family j^aper per se. H. P. Beach is its editor today. 

Burt E. Burroughs, of Cabery, was the first publisher of the Cabery 
Enquirer. It was established in 1883. It is now controlled and edited by 
William R. Watts. 

The Gibson Enterprise was founded by P. A. Coal, now postmaster at Gib- 
son City, in 1882. He conducted the business in a prosperous manner for 
eighteen years, or until 1903, when Woolley Brothers, the present proprietors, 
purchased the plant. They immediately secured a brick building on First 
street, where the business is now conducted. The Enterprise is one of a chain 
of three papers published by Woolley Brothers, the other publications being 
the Saybrook Gazette and the Arrowsmith News. The firm of Woolley Broth- 
ers is composed of Frank Woolley, George A. Woolley and Arthur B. Woolley. 
The Enterprise is edited by George A. Woolley. 

The Sibley Index came into existence about January 1st, 1880, and was 
established by P. A. Coal. For some time H. W. Rodman was its editor. 
He was succeeded by M. T. Hyer. Sibley is now depending on the Sibley 
Journal to keep it informed of current events. The J(mrnal was established 
in 1897, by the Sibley Pu])lishing Company. Its present editor is Judson 


The Gibson Enterprise was established by N. E. Stevens, in the spring of 
1872. It was the first paper ever published in Gibson. The printing was 
done in the office of the Record at Paxton. In the fall of 1873, the Enter- 
prise was purchased by Walter Hoge, who changed the name to the Gibson 
Courier. Mr. Hoge conducted the paper until the winter of 1875, when E. 
Lowry became its owner and editor. Mr. Lowry was the editor of the Courier 
until- 1885, when the paper passed into the hands of N. F. Cunningham and 
John C. IMallory. With indifferent success, the paper was published by thost^ 
gentlemen for about a year, when ]\Ir. Lowry bought it back and edited the 
sheet until 1897. At the time just mentioned, the concern was purchased by 
C. E. and J. P. Lowry, sons of the above, who are now in active control and 
giving the people of the county the local news and one of the best panf^T« in 
this section of Illinois. 


The Piper City Advertiser was founded l)y Henry Allnutt, who located in 
Ford county in 1870, on a farm in Pella township. He removed to Piper City 
in 1873, bought a few handsful of brevier type, a quarto novelty press, noM 
opened a job office. He was soon publishing the Advertiser, a four column 
folio, which made its first appearance in the summer of 1876. It was but a 
short time before it appeared as a six column folio. In 1883, it was changed 
to a five column quarto. 


The Piper City Journal was founded in 1897, by B. W. Kinsey. In 1900 
it passed into the hands of Charles D. Gilpin, wiio is the present editor. It 
is a five colunni quarto, and is neutral in politics. 


The Melvin Transcript was establislied in 1893, l)y W. 0. Sanders, wlio is 
its present editor. 


The Roberts llcrabl was founded in 1S!)S. Ity W. O. Sanders, and is giv- 
ing the people in that sedion of the counly. all Ihe news there is to be had. 



The following facts are taken from the records of the county: 

Sanuiel L. Baughman, Gibson City, graduated from the Chicago Medical 
College, ]\Iarch 2, 1876 ; school of practice, regular or allopathic. 

James Y. Campbell, Paxton, graduated from Chicago Medical College, 
March 21, 1865 ; regular. 

M. Cassingham, Roberts, graduated from the Rush Medical College, Chi- 
cago, Febriiarj' 16, 1865; regular. 

S. D. Culbertson, Piper City, graduated from Jefferson Medical College, 
Philadelphia, ]\Iarcli 10, 1866, regular. 

L. B. Farrar, Paxton, graduated from Berkshire Medical College, 
Massachusetts, November 8, 1848 ; homeopathic. 

Laura E. Farrar, Paxton, graduated from Hahnemann Medical College, 
Chicago. 1872 ; homeopathic. 

H. E. Farley, Cabery, graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago, Feb- 
ruary 24, 1880; regular. 

H. Gilborne, Cabery, graduated from Hahnemann Medical College, Phila- 
delphia, ]\Iarch 9, 1872 ; homeopathic. 

J. I. Groves, Gibson City, graduated from Hahnemann I\Iedical College, 
Chicago, February 26, 1880 ; homeopathic. 

■ N. Holton, Gibson City, graduated from Chicago Medical College, March 
5, 1867; regular. 

H. A. Kelso, Paxton, certificate State Board on twenty years' practice 
June 14, 1880; regular. 

E. L. Kelso, Paxton, graduated from Chicago Medical College, March 27, 
1883 ; regular. 

Floyd O'Brien, Sibley, graduated from Rush IMedical College, February 
15, 1876 ; regular. 

W. F. O'Brien, Piper City, examination by State Board July 6, 1881; 

E. B. Perry, Melvin, graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago, Feb- 
ruary 24, 1880; regular. 

John T. Ragsdale, Gil)son City, graduated from American Eclectic 
College, St. Louis, January 26, 1875; eclectic. 

Milton B. Swisher, Paxton, graduated from the Pulte Medical College, Cin- 
ciiniati, INIarch 6, 1883; hcmieopathic. 


T. B. Strauss, Gibson City, examination by State Board, January 12, 1878 j 

J. M. Waters, Gibson City, graduated from Jefferson ]\Iedie-al College, 
Philadelphia, March 7, 1868; regular. 

S. M. Wylie, Paxton, graduated from Chicago Medical College, ]\Iarch 5, 
1878; regular. 

John "Wilson. Elliott, graduated from Rush ^ledical College, Chicago, Feb- 
ruary 21, 1882 ; regular. 

T. R. Wile3^, Gibson City, graduated from Rush Medical College, February 
14, 1874; regular. 

W. H. Watson, Cabery, graduated from Rush ]\Iedical College, February 
16, 1875 ; regular. 

The following physicians are now practicing in Ford county : 

Paxton: Drs. S. M. Wylie, S. A. Lundgren, S. S. Fuller, E. L. Kelso, 
H. A. Kelso, R. J. Atwood, E. E. Hester, I. D. Kelschimer and James Mahan; 
Dr. Hartford, osteopath. 

Roberts: Dr. B. J. Zahn. 

IVIelvin : H. N. Boshell 

Elliott : Dr. G. W. Rudolphi. 

Clarence : J. B. Brown. 

Sibley: Drs. A. A. Absher, Otto Finkensher. 



Ex-County Judge David Patton was the i)ioneer lawyer of Ford county, 
liaving located at Ten Mile Grove, about three miles southwest of Paxton, in 
the hitter part or Oct()l)er, 1853, while Ford was yet a part of Vermilion county. 
He was l)()ni in Clark county, Kentuck\', in 1806, and emigrated to Butler 
county, Ohio, with his parents in 1810. At the age of eighteen ho began the 
study of law in the office of Oliver 11. Smith at Connersville. Ttidiana. and 
while so engaged in his studies, taught district school in the winter season to 
earn money to pay his current expenses. In October, 1828, he was admittetl 
to the l)ar, and soon afterward began the active practice of his profession at 
La Fayette, Indiana, where, by his natural tact and close attention to business, 
he secured antl held for ten yeai-s a large and lucrative practice. Frank, 


upright and generous in disposition, he was held in high esteem by the people, 
and regarded as a leading lawyer by his professional brethren. His unguarded 
liberality, however, ultimately proved a snare to him financially. His earnings 
for the ten years were soon swept away in the payment of debts for his friends, 
and he was compelled to start anew in life. With this object in view, he 
turned his face and steps westward, and located on a choice tract of four hun- 
dred acres of land at the Grove above referred to. Population in his new 
home was too sparse to afford much profitable law business, and hence he turned 
his attention to farming and stock-raising, but his reputation as a lawyer soon 
came to the ears of his new neighbors and friends, and he was frequently called 
to maintain or defend their rights before the local magistrates. This he did 
with his former zeal and success. Not a few of the regulars in the profession 
could truthfully say they were completel}^ surprised and often out-generaled in 
these contests by this unassuming Hoosier farmer. To his efforts, the passage 
of the act of the legislature creating the county of Ford, and its subsequent 
organization, was largely due. At a special election, held in June, 1859, he 
was elected judge of the county court by a large majority over his opponent 
Gideon Camp. William Swinford, of Trickel's Grove, and Andrew J. Bart- 
lett, of the Pan Handle, were chosen his associate justices. At the general 
elections in 1860, 186-J: and 1868, the people called him to serve them in the 
same responsible office. Before the close of his fourth official term, the grow- 
ing weight of years and his extensive real-estate interests in Illinois and other 
western states, convinced him that the remainder of his days should be devoted 
to private affairs, after having served the public so long and faithfully. The 
monetary panic of 1875, in connection with his losses as surety for some of his 
friends, again stripped him of nearly all his earthly possessions. But notwith- 
standing his misfortune in this particular, he had the higher and better consola- 
tion of having justly merited the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens by 
an active and useful life in their midst for more than thirt}^ years. Those who 
knew him can cheerfully bear witness that the pioneer lawyer of Ford county in 
his younger years was a good lawyer, a quaint and entertaining speaker, and at all 
times a kind and indulgent parent, a friend of the poor and needy, an enterpris- 
ing, public-spirited citizen, and above all, a steadfast lover of justice and 

In February, 1860, J. B. Bitrrows, a native of the Empire state, and a grad- 
uate of one of the leading colleges and law schools of the state of Pennsylvania, 
located in Paxton as a lawyer. Being a man of pleasing address, an uncommonly 
graceful and eloquent speaker, possessing a liberal education, able to write and 


speak Hiienth- in the French and German hmguages as well as in the mother 
tongue, he soon became known as a i)opnlar public speaker. His law practice 
grew rapidly from the start, and in a few months after his arrival he was em- 
ployed in several important suits in Ford and adjoining counties. On the 4th day 
of July. 18G0. he delivered to a large and attentive nudience. on the grounds 
where the ]uil)]ic high school building now stands in Paxton, the first oration ever 
made on Independence day in this cit\'. and I doubt if its power and elocpience 
have ever been surpassed on a similar occasion in the county since then. Soon 
after this, he was employed by the order of (lood Templars as state lecturer for 
the state of Illinois, which position he held until the spring of 1861. From the 
spring of 1855 until the autumn of 1858, he was editor in chief of an independent 
newspaper published in the city of New Orleans, one side of which was printed in 
the French language, and the other in the English, and in the presidential cam- 
paign of 1860, supported Bell and Everett for president and vice president. In 
that campaign ]\Ir. Burrows made a number of political speeches at prominent 
points in the south in their behalf. In the meantime, he had Ixx-oine well 
acquainted with the political ideas and revolutionary designs entertained by her 
political leaders and the unanimity with which the masses of her people would 
support any attempt they might make to dissolve the Union, and hence when 
the roar of her hostile guns resounded over the north at the bombardment of 
Sumter, he at once insisted that a tremendous struggle for national existence 
was upon us. Soon after this, at the first meeting of the citizens of Paxton 
and vicinity to raise volunteers held in the schoolhouse, he made an eloquent 
appeal to his audience to forget past party affiliations, to "sink the partisan 
in the patriot" and rally as one nuin to the support of the national flag. In 
1861 or 1862 he removed to Bloomington. Illinois, where he assisted in enlist- 
ing volunteers in that locality, and where he died in 1863. 

In the summer of 1860, Kennedy Price, a native of Ilagerstown. ]\rary- 
land, removed from Palo, Illinois, to Paxton, where he entered into copartnership 
^\ith Henry l^arnhouse, an old resident of the latter place, and at the time 
a jnstice of the peace, under the firm name of Price & Barnhouse, attorneys at 
law. Mr. Price was a descendant of one of the leading families of his native 

lie was well ('(hieated in liis profession, libi'ral, jovial and courteous among 
his fi'iends, ;uk1 in that sense a true southern gentleman. In his address to 
the jury, he was of the fervent, fiery order, to the court he was deliberate and 
concise. Tlis residence in Paxton was short. A fii'in believer in (*allioun doc- 
trine of state rights, he nalui'ally drifted info su])i)or1ing fhe southern eonfed- 


eracy, and iji the fall of 1<S()1 bade adieu to Paxtoii, and returned to his native 
place to take eharge of the biri^e property interests of his aged widowed mother, 
where, I am informed, he became a captain of the Confederate army in 1862. 

Daniel S. Morse, a native of New Hampshire, and James A. Briggs, a 
native of Rochester, New York, having heard in their eastern homes that Pros- 
pect City, Ford county, Illinois, would soon prove a paradise for young law- 
yers, formed a copartnership under the firm name of ]\Iorse & Briggs, lawyers, 
and came to that noted city of the "grand prairie" in the summer of 18G0, 
and tendered their services to whomsoever it might concern. Their anticipated 
rich harvest, however, yielded rather meager returns, and hence their sta\ was 
brief. In the latter part of the year 1861 ]\Ir. ]\Iorse went to Chicago, and 
Mr. Briggs to Eureka, Woodford county, Illinois, where he resumed the prac- 
tice of his profession in partnership with Judge 'Meek of that place. 

During the years 1859-60, there strode into Prospect City at odd times an 
ungainly, verdant looking coiuitry lad, measuring fully six feet four and one- 
half inches in height, with broad, angular frame, having a large head thickly 
covered with short-cut, black bushy hair, rather small black eyes, high cheek 
bones, sciuare, prominent chin, wide mouth and swarthy complexion, and unus- 
ual size, and whose abrupt manners and speech attracted the attention of nearly 
every one. Such is an imperfect description of the personal appearance of 
Martin V. Ross, one of the prominent lawyers of the Paxton bar in bygone 
da.ys. He was born near Greencastle, Indiana, and emigrated to east central 
Illinois al)out 1855, where he was mainly engaged as a farm laborer and school 
teacher until his admission to the l)ar in 1862. After which, for some time, 
he was assistant editor of the Ford County Journal, one of the first newspapers 
jiublished in the county. David Crondall, of Champaign City, being editor. 
In 186-4 he associated with himself as a partner in law, E. C. Gray, under the 
firm name of Ross & Gray, which continued until the fall of 1865, when Mr. 
Ross located at Fort Scott, Kansas, and where he successfully conducted an 
extensive law business, mostly in criminal cases, l)efore the district and supreme 
courts of that state, for about two years. He was twice elected a member of 
the lower house of the Kansas legislature, and served with much distinction. 
At the close of his last term, he was elected .iudge of the district court, com- 
posed of lk)urbon and adjoining counties, which position he held at the time of 
his death, which occurred in 1870, on the Pacific sh)pe, whither he had gone 
for his health. In the mauagemeut of his cases in court, he manifested great 
tenacity and no little adroitness. Before the jury he urged his clients' cavise 
with much earnestness and viu'or. in a kind of "rough and ready" style peculiar 


to himself. Before the court he Avas deliberate, fearless and self-assured, gen- 
erally argumentative, though at times quite illogical. In politics he was a 
zealous, radical republican, and during the htte war lal)()red for the cause of 
the union effectively. His educational requirements were small, yet by nature 
he was endowed with physical aiul mental capacities l)road and strong. 

Edw^ard C. Gr.\y, the oldest settled lawyer, Avas born and raised in the 
vicinity of Cleveland, Ohio. His earlier years were spent on the farm and as 
a railroader in his native state. When the southern rebellion broke out, he 
shouldered his musket and moved to the front to take a hand in the preserva- 
tion of the Union. After having served his country faithfully in that memor- 
able struggle mitil 1864, he received an honorable discharge, and located in 
Paxton as a partner of Martin V. Ross, in the law practice under the firm name 
of Ross & Gray. The firm continued until the former Avent to Fort Scott, Kan- 
sas, in 1865. Mr. Gray then became the resident partner of the firm of Smith 
& Gray. This partnership was dissolved when Mr. Smith Avas elected circuit 
judge of the seventeenth circuit in 1873. The firm enjoyed an extensive and 
successful laAv business in Ford and adjoining counties, as Avell as in the higher 
courts of this state. Mr. Gray, soon after Judge Smith's election, associated 
Avith himself as a partner, Captain Z. S. Swan, of Champaign, Illinois, under 
the firm name of Gray & SAvan, and so continued until the death of the latter 
at Champaign in 1882. He was at the December term, 1883, of the circuit 
court, appointed by Hon. 0. T. Rems, presiding judge, as an associate counsel, 
AAnth Hon. Thomas T. Tipton of Bloomington, Illinois, to defend James Ryan, 
Avho Avas under indictment for the murder of Abram Thorpe, in Paxton, on 
the 30th day of September, 1883. His judgment of the hnv and practice Avas 
comprehensiA^e and accurate, and in the trial of a cause his opponent need not 
expect a victory, without confronting every point of merit involved in the case. 

John Pollock Avas born in Harrison county, Ohio, in 1817, Avhere he Avas 
reared on the farm, and received his education in the common and select schools 
of his neighborhood. In 1835 he removed with his parents to Logan county, 
Ohio; here he AA^orked on the farm in the summer season, and taught district 
school and pursued his preparatory study of tlic hiAv in the Avinter season. Soon 
after his admission to the bar by the supreme court of Ohio in 1851, he began 
the practice of his profession at Bellfontaine. Some years later, he, in com- 
pany Avith two others, conducted for two years a private bank in that city JMr. 
Pollock acting as attorney and cashier. Wh(>n the firm dissolved, the business 
was carried on for two years longer on his own account. Having now been 
elected prosecuting attorney for his county, he gave up the banking business to 


attend to tlie duties of his oiflee. In 1865, in company with his son, J. E. Pol- 
lock, he opeiied a law office in Winchester, Virginia, where they enjoyed an 
extensive practice until the fall of 1866, when the father made a business trip 
to Illinois, intending to return to Winchester, but in the meantime the legisla- 
ture of Virginia had enacted such liberal exemption and stay laws as to render 
collection of debts tedious and in some cases impossible. This induced him to 
take up his residence and open an office in Paxton. In 1872 he was elected 
a member of the lower house of the legislature of this state in the district com- 
posed of the counties of Livingston and Ford, and as such discharged the several 
duties there imposed upon him witli that conscientious faithfulness that 
ever characterized his action, whether in public or private life. Among other 
valuable services rendered his constituency, especially the people of Ford county, 
he procured the passage of the law placing McLean and Ford counties in one 
judicial circuit. In 1872, he formed a law partnership with Alfred Sample 
(which was dissolved l)y mutual consent in 1877) and for one year thereafter, 
the firm of Pollock & IMcLean was one of the leading law firms in this county. 
But his professional career drew rapidly to a close, his overtaxed nervous sys- 
tem could endure the strain no longer, and its prostration ensued to such an 
extent that he was compelled to relinquish his law business entirely and retire 
to private life. In his practice, he was a careful, painstaking lawyer, always 
aiming to secure all legal rights of his client in every emergency, while his 
naturally sympathetic disposition impelled him to extra effort in behalf of the 
poor or unfortunate who entrusted their cases to his management. 

Alfred Sample Avas born in Butler county, Ohio, November 27, 1846. lie 
came to Illinois in 1857. lived and labored on the farm until he was sixteen 
years of age when he enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth 
Illinois Infantry, and fought resolutely for his country until ]\Iay, 1864. He 
received severe wounds in both arms and breast in the battle at Resaca, Geor- 
gia, and on account of which he was discharged in December, 1864. In January, 
1865, he entered Eureka College, where, and at ]\Ionmouth College, he pur- 
sued a course for four years with a view of the study of law. Afterward taught 
school for a short time. He read law with Colonel R. G. Ingersoll at Peoria, 
Illinois, and was admitted to the bar in December. 1870; came immediately to 
Paxton and formed a partnership with ]\I. II. Cloud, under the firm name of 
Cloud & Sample, which lasted until the fall of 1872, when the firm of Pollock 
& Sample was formed, and was dissolved in 1877. In 1872, he was elected 
states attorney for this county, and was reelected to the same office in 1876, 
l)y a large majority. In 1880 he was chosen elector on the republican ticket, 


and cast his vote in the electoral college for James A. Garfield for president, 
and Chester A. Arthnr for vice president. From the Ix'ginning he was a 
remarkahh" successful lawyer, and was employed in several of the most import- 
ant suits ever tried in the county, among which may be mentioned his employ- 
ment by the railroad and warehouse commissioners to prosecute the Wabash 
Company for making unjust discriminations in tlieir rates for carriage of 
freight between Peoria, Illinois, and New York, and Ix'tween Oilman and New 
York. By nature adapted to tlie profession of the law, possessing tact, energy, 
industry and invincible determination, he allowed no cessation of hostilities until 
he was completely victorious or utterly vanquished. Tie for years served on the 
circuit bench. 

Milton H. Cloud was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, July 24, 1842, came 
to Illinois in 1850, and settled on a farm in Tazewell county, where he lived 
until he \yas twenty years old, when he enlisted in the Eighty-sixth Regiment 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served his country valiantly for three years as 
color-bearer. At the battle of Kenesaw IMountain he received two severe 
wounds. After the close of his military service he entered Eureka College 
for a time, then read law at Pekin, Illinois, and during the winter of 1866 was 
a student at the Chicago Law School, after which he completed his preparatory 
study of the law at Metamora, Illinois, in the office of R. T. Cassell & Son. 
He was admitted to practice in 1867, and commenced practice at El Paso, Illi- 
nois; came to Paxton in January, 1869. and soon acquired a fair practice. In 
1871, the partnership of Cloud & Sample was begun and continued until 1872. 
INIr. Cloud was also states attorney for the county during the partnership. For 
the year 1875 he was city attorney for the city of Paxton. In 1876. he became 
a member of the loan and real-estate firm of Ilanley, Sutton, Cloud & Day. 
jMr. Cloud in the examination of titles, is probalily as proficient as any attorney 
in this part of the state. In 1882, he was appointed master in chancery for 
the county by 0. T. Reeves, circuit judge. In 1886 he was elected county 
judge of Ford county. 

John R. Kinnear was born July 26, 1848, at AVest Point, Tippecanoe 
county, Indiana. He removed with his parents to Kingston. Ross county, Ohio, 
in 1844, and thence to Bloomington, Illinois, in the fall of 1849, and again to 
Walnut Grove, Woodford county, Illinois, in the spring of 1850; young Kin- 
near was reared on the farm. He attended Eureka (>)llege at Galesburg. Illi- 
nois and remained there until August, 1862, when he enlisted in Company A, 
Eighty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, August 22, 1862. His regiment was 
mustered into the service August 27, at Peoria, Illinois, and on September 7, 



was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, and immediately began active service. The 
regiment, belonging to the Army of the Cumberland, has an excellent record 
for fighting qualities, having been engaged in twenty-two pitched battles, besides 
numerous skirmishes. ]\Ir. Kinnear was constantly with his regiment, except 
one month of sickness at Nashville, and kept a daily record of its operations. 
After having faithfully served his country for four years, lacking two months 
and twenty-two days, he was mustered out with his regiment at Washington, 
District of Columbia, June 6, 1865. On his return to his home he was solicited 
l)y his conu'ades to prepare a history of the regiment from his notes, which he 
did in 1866. How well he performed his work is best shown by the fact that 
more than two thousand volumes were published and sold at one dollar and fifty 
cents per volume. Soon after he reached home he began the study of the law 
in the office of Judge Charles H. Chitty, at Metamora, Illinois. After reading 
two years in the office, he attended the Chicago Law School, during the winter 
of 1867-68, and located in Paxton in March of the latter year. Here he formed 
a partnership with Hon. C. H. Frew, which was dissolved July 20, .1871 ; he 
served as city attorney for the city of Paxton during the years 1869-70-71, and 
as master in chancery for Ford county four years, from August 28, 1873. In 
January, 1881, he formed a law partnership with John H. IMoffett, which lasted 
until his removal from Paxton. During his residence in Paxton he success- 
fully conducted a large and lucrative practice, and w^as engaged in many of the 
most important suits tried in this county. Among them he was of counsel for 
General Hendrix, indicted for murder in McLean coimty, who w^as acquitted. 
He was married to Rebecca Means, of Bloomington, Illinois, June 2, 1868, and 
by wdiom he had two children, Ritchey and Zeta. 

Hon. Calvin H. Frew is the son of Robert and Anna S. Frew, and a 
native of Cleveland, Ohio. He was raised on a farm, and devoted much of his 
time to reading, when not engaged in farm or other labor. When seventeen 
years old, he began teaching school, paying a share of his wages to his father, 
and using the remainder to pay his own expenses at the high school, and at 
Beaver Academy in Pennsylvania, and later, at the Vermilion Institute in Ohio. 
In 1862 he became the principal of the high school at Kalida, Ohio, and occu- 
pied a similar position in the high school at Young America, Illinois, in 1863-64. 
In this way he paid indebtedness incurred in obtaining his education, and at 
the same time pursued his preparatory study of law. In the spring of 1865 
he settled in Paxton, and there piKsued his study in the law until the following 
December, when he was admitted to the bar by the supreme court of Illinois. 
In 1868, less than three years after his admission to the bar, he was elected to 


the general assembly from Ford and Iroquois counties. During his first term 
as a member of that body, he became distinguished on account of his, then sup- 
posed, unconstitutional and radical views touching the power of the state to 
regulate the charges of the raihvay companies for the carriage of passengers 
and freight. On January 19, 1869, he introduced and supported by an able 
argument the following resolution: "Resolved that all privileges, powers or 
prerogatives acquired by railroad companies of the state government are subor- 
dinate to the general welfare of the people or community where constructed, 
and that the right of the state to exercise a reasonable control over such com- 
panies is one of which no power can divest the people." The doctrine embodied 
ill this resolution has since become the settled law of the land, having been de- 
clared such by the supreme court of Illinois, as well as by the supreme court of 
the United States. In 1870, he was reelected by a large majority from the coun- 
ties of Ford and Kankakee. During this term also, he took an active part in 
securing amendments to and the passage of some of the most beneficial statutes 
of the state now in force. In 1878 he was elected a third time to the legislature, 
this time representing the counties of Ford and Livingston ; one of the most im- 
portant laws passed by the legislature at this session was that requiring the 
foreclosure of trust deeds and mortgages in court instead of by advertisement, 
the passage of which IMr. Frew urged with his usual zeal and force. In public 
life Mr. Frew has always been diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving his 
constituency with that earnestness and fearlessness characteristic of men of bold, 
independent mind. 

F. L. Cook was a native of New York. Besides having a good common- 
school education, he attended Eureka College in AVoodford county and Knox Col- 
lege at Galesburg, Illinois, for more than five years. His father having enlisted 
in the Union army, his son had to (jiiit college to oversee his business affairs, that 
of grain buyer and railway agent at Kappa, Woodford county, Illinois. This he 
did from 1862 to 1866. In {ho fall of the latter year he went to the national 
capital as an employe of the state, to collect soldiers' claims, where he was en- 
gaged for three years. He then acted as private secretary for Senator Cullum, 
then a member of the lower house of congress from Illinois, afterward as clerk of 
the two house committee on territories and foreign affairs dnring the years 1869, 
1870, 1871, as well as having charge of the payment of United States marshals in 
the census office. in .June, 1S71, lie gi'aduated from the Columbia Law School, 
D. C. but had been admitted to practice in Illinois, and located at Paxton as a 
lawyer soon thereafter. The city council appointed him its attorney to fill the 
unexpired term of J. C. Patton. deceased, and in 1877, lie was appointed master 


in chancery for this connty by Jnclge 0. T. Reeves. At the general election in 
1880 he was elected states attorney for Ford county. 

Charles H. Yeomans, one of the first settled and most successful attorneys 
in Gibson City, was born in Delaware county. New York, December 2, 1846, and 
came to Illinois in 1850. In July, 1871, he graduated from Ripon College, Wis- 
consin, and received the degree of A. B., and in 1879 the degree of A. M. from 
the same institution. While pursuing his classical course at Ripon, he also read 
law under the supervision of Hon. Jesse Dobbs, at Ripon. and during vacations 
in the office of Hon. C. H. Wood, at Onarga, Illinois. In October, 1870, he was 
admitted to the Wisconsin bar, and to the Illinois bar in 1872 at Ottawa, Illinois, 
having located at Gibson the preceding July. By close attention to his profes- 
sional business and untiring fidelity to his clients' interests, he secured a full 
share of law business, as well as the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens 
He held the office of city attorney for his adopted city, and was a member of the 
board of education. He was public spirited and enterprising, taking an active 
part in whatever movements were inaugurated for the social or commercial ad- 
vancement of the young and flourishing city of his adoption so fortunately 
located in the fertile valley of the Sangamon river. 

J. Rheese Patrick, fourth son of Mr. A. C. and Mrs. C. H. Patrick was born 
March 4, 1858, at Rural Valley, in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania. During 
his boyhood days, until he was fifteen years old, he attended the common schools 
of his neighborhood in winter time and Avorked at the carpenter's trade during 
his vacations. Subsecpiently he took the full classical course of study at the 
Glade Run Academy, located at Dayton, Pennsylvania, and in the spring of 1879 
completed the post-graduate course in that institution, which entitled him to en- 
ter the sophomore class in college In the fall of 1879 he engaged to teach the 
public school at Pellsville, Vermilion county^ Illinois, as principal, which position 
he occupied for three successive years, and in the meantime began and completed 
his preparatory study of the law under the supervision of INIessrs. Kinnear & 
]\Ioffett, attorneys in Paxton. In ]\Iay, 1882, he was admitted to the bar by the ap- 
pellate court at Springfield, Illinois For six months thereafter he studied and 
worked in his profession in the office of Hon. Calvin II. Frew, of Paxton. He then 
opened an office and practiced on his own account. At the spring election of 
1883, he had the honor to be elected to the office of city attorney for the city of 
Paxton, after a close contest, Milton II. Cloud, an older and more experienced 
lawyer, being his opponent. 

Dr. Lockhart Brooks Farrar was born at Langdon, Cheshire county. New 
Hampshire, August 29, 1822. The death of his father occurred when the sub- 


jec't of this sketch was al)out four years old. Ilis mother then removed witli her 
family to Walpole, New Hampshire, where his boyhood and early manhood years 
w'ere passed. After attending the common schools and different academies in 
his native state, he tanght school for some years in various towns in New Hamp- 
shire and Vermont. He began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. George 
Smith, of Walpole, and completed his preliminary course in his profession with 
the late Dr. Hubbard Groves, of Nashua, New Hampshire. His first course of 
lectures w^as given at Woodstock, Vermont. 1iut he received his diploma from the 
Berkshire Medical College, of IMassachusetts, commencing in 1848. He prac- 
ticed his profession for three years at Hollis. New Hampshire, then moved to 
Manchester, ^lassachusetts. The winter of 1854-55 he spent at the Jefferson 
Medical College, at Philadelphia, and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, 
New York city, and in the hospitals of those cities. In the spring of 1856 he 
came to Illinois, and to Paxton in the fall of 1858. In 1868 he began the study 
of law, and in 1871 took the law diploma from the INIichigan University and was 
admitted to the Illionis bar the same year. He opened a law office at Paxton and 
practiced that profession for about four years and then returned to the practice 
of medicine. 

S. P. McLean was born ]\Iay 9, 1852, in Hancock county, A-'irginia. He 
resided in Carrollton. Ohio, half a dozen years, and then removed to Vermont, 
Illinois, in 1860. He was taught the harnessmaker's trade by his father, and 
thereby earned the money to give him a good college education. 

He read law with Gest & Pooks, of Rock Island, Illinois, was licensed to prac- 
tice on examination by the supreme court of Illinois, at Ottawa, in September, 
1877, and in the fall of the same year came to Paxton and formed a law partner- 
ship with Hon. John Pollock, under the firm name of Pollock & IMcLean. A year 
later. Pollock retired from the practice of the profession, and McLean continued 
the business. At the spring election in 1879. he was elected city attorney for 
the city of Paxton, which position he held, in addition to a good general practice, 
until ^lay. 1880. wlieii lie resigned as city attorney, boxed his law library and 
entered journalism, begiiuiing as reporter on the Bloomington (111.) Daily Mail. 
As a newspaper man he was a "Bohemian." having been engaged in reportorial 
and editorial work on Ihc Seihilia (Mo.) Ba/oo. the (ii-cat Sonlhwcst of St. Louis, 
the Decatur Herald, IMooniington IMail, Lincoln Times and other sheets, and Avas 
editor of the Kankakee Times, and where his fi'iends jokingly said he was put 
under bonds to stay at least a year as a condition precedent to his employment. 
He was quite spicy and versatile as a writer, and h(>ld the usual adjustable polit- 
ical notions of newspaper i-epoi-fers. On .July 1)5. 1881. he was united in 


marriage with Miss Nealy Briiyn, eldest daughter of W. 11. Bruyn, of Paxton, 

S. P. Radv, attorney at law, at Gibson, Illinois, was horn in Floyd county, 
Indiana, in 1858. Until he was fifteen years old he worked on his father's farm 
in the summer season and attended the district school of his neighborhood during 
the winter. At the age of fifteen he became an assistant teacher in the high 
school in Galena, under his brother, William Rady. For the next nine years he 
taught school a part of the time and attended school the remainder of the time. 
While so engaged he went to Hartsville University, Indiana, and the National 
Normal School at Lebanon, Ohio, and graduated there in the scientific course 
in 1877. For three years thereafter he was principal of the high school at Lon- 
adeser, Kentucky. Some time afterward, he accepted the principalship of the 
Gibson city public school, which he held for one year. 

James Henry Lott was born May 7, 1855, at Charleston, in the state of 
South Carolina. His father was of mixed blood, being equally Indian and 
African, and was a free man and a carpenter by trade. His mother was a 
(luadroon and a slave, and by descent a granddaughter of Governor Pickens, 
of that state. Henry went to Boston in 1865, as valet to Colonel Nutt, of the 
Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Colored Volunteers, and in the fall of the same year 
came to Tuscola, Illinois, where he attended the public schools until 1873, and 
in the meantime learned the barber's trade. In 1878 he went to Terre Haute, 
Indiana, where he read law in the office of Doris & Doris, for eighteen months, 
and in 1881 came to Paxton, Illinois, and resumed his law studies in October 
of the latter year, under the supervision of A. Sample. On the 23d day of 
November, 1863, he was admitted to the bar, after a rigid examination by a 
committee of three eminent lawyers, appointed by the appellate court of the 
third district, then in session at the state capital, to examine applicants for 
admission. His knowledge of his chosen profession in thoroughness and 
extent was undoubtedly^ equal to if not above the average of beginners. He 
certainly deserved much credit for the determination he has shown to succeed, 
for it must be remembered that during most of the time he had been engaged 
in preparation for the law practice, he earned a livelihood for himself and 
family at the barber's chair, and only acquired his knowledge of law and other 
subjects while others slept. 

John II. Mofpett, who in 1884 was one of the youngest and most success- 
ful members of our l)ar, was born in Clayton, Adams county, Illinois, Febru- 
ary 25, 1857. In 1859 he emigrated with his i)arents to lUoomington, Indiana, 
and in the spring of 1865 to Paxton, Illinois. Here he graduated from the 


public school, standing at the head of his classes, in 1875. Desiring more 
extended education, he repaired to ]\Ionniovith College in the fall of the same 
year and there studiously applied himself until the spring of 1877. when he 
began his investigations of the intricacies of the law in the office of John R. 
Kinnear, then one of the leading lawyers of the Ford county l)ar, and in Jan- 
uary. 1880. was admitted to practice. He immediately formed a partnership 
with his preceptor under the firm name of Kinnear & IMoffett. which lasted 
until May, 1883, when Mr. Kinnear took his departure for Seattle, Washing- 
ton. After that, he conducted as resident partner the law business of the firm 
of Tipton & :\Ioffett. During the years 1881-82, he held the office of city attor- 
ney for the city of Paxton. 

The Present Members op the Ford County Bar are : Milton II. 
Cloud, and F. IM. Thompson, composing the firm of Cloud & Thompson; A. 
jMcElroy; C. 11. Frew; H. IT. Kerr (now county judge) and Frank Lindley, 
composing the firm of Kerr & Lindley; ]\I. L. ]\IcQuiston and G. Frederick, 
IMcQuiston & Frederick, C. E. Beach; R. A. McCracken; Samuel Ludlow and 
A. L. Phillips, Phillips & Ludlow; C. S. Schneider and R. L Schneider, 
Schneider & Schneider; 0. H. Wylie; Harry Duffield, (city attorney) Paxton; 
H. P. Beach, M. H. Scott, Piper City; L. A. Cranston, (states attorney) Gib- 
son City. 


The legislature of the state of Illinois in the act organizing Ford county 
placed it in the eighth judicial circuit, and provided that the judge of said cir- 
cuit should hold a term of court, on the organization of the county, at a place 
to be desigiuited by the county court. 

At this date, 1859, the counties of Logan, McLean, DeWitt, Champaign 
and Vermilion comprised the eighth district. 

February 4, 1861, an act was passed, organizing the twenty-seventh judi- 
cial circuit, in which were placed the counties of Vermilion, Champaign, Douglas 
and Ford. Our county remained in this circuit until 1867. when on Jan- 
uary 29, by an act of the legislature, the counties of Moultrie, Shelby, IMaeon, 
Piatt, Fayette, Champaign and Ford were united in the seventeenth circuit. 

In April, 1872, the legislature again changed the circuit, placing us in the 
twentieth, with tlie counties of Kankakee, Iroquois and Livingston. 

Under act of the legislature approved and in force ]\Iarch 28, 1873, the 
state was again divided into circuits, McLean and Ford constituting the four- 


teentli. By act Jiine 2, 1877, in force July 1, 1877, the state, excliLsive of 
Cook county, was divided into thirteen circuits. The counties of McLean, 
Ford, Kankakee, Iroquois and Livingston forming the eleventh. 

The arrangement of counties under this act, together with the additional 
judge elected under its provisions, made the numher of judges in each of said 
circuits three. 

The following judges have held circuit courts in Ford county : Hons. 
David Davis, Charles Emerson, 0. L. Davis, James Steel, A. J. Gallagher, 
Charles H. Wood, Thomas F. Tipton, J. W. Cochran, 0. T. Reeves, N. J. Pills- 
bury, Franklin Blades, Alfred Sample, Charles R. Starr, Colestin I), flyers, 
George W. Patton, John TI. Moifett and Thomas IVI. Harris. 

The first term of the Ford county circuit court was held at the City Hotel 
in Paxton, November 18, 1859. 

The Hon. David Davis, of Bloomington, was the presiding judge; Samuel 
L. Day, clerk ; Howard Case, sheriff ; and Ward H. Lamon, states attorney. 
The first grand jurors were James P. Button, Matthe\r Elliott, ]\Iilton Strayer, 
Obadiah Campbell, Sidney Morgan, Solomon Burt, John B. Buell, Leander 
Britt, Lindsey Corblej^, John Brown, Leander Butts, John P. Day, Richard 
Bryan, John Dopps, Sr., William Bryan, Robert Eggleston, Peter Van Antwerp, 
Robert N. Scovill and William Newlin. 

Petit Jurors — Charles Cloyes, Benjamin Ferris, Patrick Torpey, Isaac Hall, 
John R. Lewis, Henry Atwood, L. W. Henckle, John Swinford, Dennis Ilapper, 
Francis Meharry, John Richardson, Charles Wall, Milton Wineland, Seth T. 
Simons, Archibald IMcKinney, Jacob Titus, William Reed, Harmon Strayer, 
Jacob Tanner, Jacob Henry, Frederick T. Putt, William Pollock, Paul W. 
Cooley and A. E. Scovill. 

The court was in session four days. 

John R. Lewis, Esq., member of the petit jury, in his "History of the Pan 
Handle," speaks of this term of court as follows: 

"The charge to the grand jury was made by the judge himself, who also 
administered the oaths. In his charge, the judge urged them to do their 
whole duty as men and jurors, and as they were just starting in a new county 
to be careful and see that all depredations committed in their neighborhood 
were presented to the jury and returned to the court. The judge said, 'rid 
your neighborhood of all petty thieves and lawbreakers, and return them to 
this court.' 

"There were not many cases on the common law docket. A few chancery 
cases came up and were argued before the court. 


"Hon-. David Brier, of Bloomington, defended the location selected by the 
county commissioners for the courthouse. After carefully listening to both 
sides, the court gave his opinion in the matter. In doing so, he complimented 
County Judge David Patton, saying he had been acciuainted with him a num- 
ber of years, and that his opinions as a lawyer were considered carefully made 
and well taken, but in this case the court must differ with him. 

"One criminal case was tried at this term of court. It was on a change 
of venue from Vermilion county, where a man had stolen a kit of fish weigh- 
ing fifty pounds from the railway depot at Danville. In this trial, three of 
the jury were from the Pan Handle. The prisoner was very ably defended 
by an attorney from Danville. The defense set up was that the value of the 
fish stolen was less than five dollars, and introduced witnesses to prove that this 
was the fact. One of these, Mr. Barnhouse, of Prairie City, swore that a kit 
of fish, such as the one stolen, was sold in his town for from four and a half 
dollars to four dollars and seventy-five cents. In the cross-examination. States 
Attorney W. H. Lamon brought out that the witness knew nothing of the value 
of fish in Danville, and as Danville was the place from which the fish was 
stolen, the Danville price must be that at which it was valued. In his charge 
to the jury. Judge Davis said if they found that the prisoner was guilty, and 
that the fish stolen was valued at five dollars or over, the penalty was not 
less than one nor more than five years in the penitentiary. After a short 
consultation, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and set the penalty at one 
year in the penitentiary. 

"The whole business of the court was carried on more like a general school 
of instruction to a class of students than anything else that the writer can 
compare it to. A local attorney, Mr. JMorse, who had a client, and wishcnl 
to get a continuance of his case, had prepared an affidavit setting forth the 
reasons for not being ready for trial. In the affidavit there was some very 
strong language used in behalf of his client, to wliirli Judge Davis listened as 
long as he could, but, after a little, exclaimed, 'Tut, tut, tut, young man, you 
should never get your client to swear to any such thing as that. Never allow 
3^our clients to perjure themselves. It is the duty of an attorney to keep his 
client out of trouble, and not get him into it.' " 

I'rior to the formation of the fourteenth judicial ciivuit, in 187-4, the dis- 
trict Iiad been so large that Ihc jiulges could not give the necessary time to 
our (ounly to dispose of Ihe husincss. Since that (hite, the business has ])een 
kept well in haiul, it being the fre(|ucnt custom when cases could not otherwise 
be disposed of, to lioid night sessions. 




t— < 





Judge Tipton, of Bloomingtou, at one time to clear the docket of long 
pending cases, made a custom of holding court until near midnight, and some- 
times even later, or rather earlier. 

Our judges have all been men of integrity and tilled their positions with 
credit to themselves and satisfaction to the people. 

As an illustration of the confidence of the bar and litigants in the court, 
there was one term when a full week passed in the trial of causes, and in only 
one case was a jury called; in all the others by agreement, jury was waived, 
and trial had before the court. 

One of the most aggravated murders committed thus far in the history of 
our county was that of Robert A. ^filler. He was a farmer, Avell advanced 
in life, of quiet, kindly disposition, loved by his neighbors, respected by all 
and without a single enemy as far as he knew. For many years he had lived 
on his farm in the north part of Wall township, some seven miles northwest 
of Paxton. 

On the early morning of October 7, 1875, he took his cows to water to a 
well, some little distance from the house by the edge of a cornfield. A nephew 
of Miller, Willis Conn, a single man some twenty years of age, who lived near 
Rantoul, hatl the afternoon of the day before come to Paxton and bought a 
revolver. After testing it, he procured sufficient lunch for his supper and 
breakfast, ami then went to a vacant house in the neighborhood of Robert A. 
]\Iiller, where he spent the night. Very early in the morning, he had come 
down to his uncle's, and had concealed himself in the corn just near this well, 
close to where he knew his victim would pass in watering his stock. When 
his uncle had come near enough to gratify his murderous desire, he fired the 
shot with deadly certainty, the ball entering the right side and penetrating near 
the heart. 

His uncle fell mortally wounded ; l)ut not satisfied with this Conn rushed 
up to the fallen body, and, putting the weapon close to the head of his victim, 
fired the second shot, and immediately disappeared. As soon as the neigh- 
bors received the alarm, and gathered in sufficient numbers, search was at once 
begun for the murderer, and a messenger sent to the sheriff^ at Paxton. On 
receiving word of the tragedy, warrant was issued, and Sheriff: Lyman started 
for the scene. 

About a mile out of town, he met a man afoot, who told him he was the 
party he was looking for, and that he had shot Uncle Bobby Miller, and gave 
himself up. Conn was at once taken into custody, put in jail, and held to 
await his trial. 


Circuit court sat in December, when he was indicted, and his trial began 
December 9, 1875, and lasted four days. A. Sample, states attorney, was 
assisted by M. H. Cloud in the prosecution, and the prisoner was represented 
by M. B. Thomson, of Urbana, Illinois. No trouble was experienced in impan- 
eling a jury. The ground of defense was insanity, which was most persistently 
presented by defendant's counsel. The fact and circumstances of the killing 
were not disputed. A number of physicians of reputation testified as to the 
mental condition of the prisoner. Some to the effect that he was wholly irre- 
sponsible for his acts, and others that, while at times this might be true, yet 
that he had the power to distinguish between right and wrong, and if so, was 

The law in regard to insanity as a defense for crime was laid down by the 
court to the jury in two instructions, which were as follows: 

"The court instructs the jury for the people that the complete possession 
of reason is not essential to constitute the legal responsibility of the offender, 
and although the jury may believe from the evidence that at the time of the 
act the person was not of sound mind; yet, if the jury believe from the evi- 
dence beyond a reasonable doubt that the prisoner had the power to distinguish 
right from wrong, and to adhere to the right and avoid the wrong as applied 
to the particular act charged, then he is responsible to the law for his act. 

"The jury are instructed for the defendant, that if they believe from the 
evidence in the case that at the time of the killing that said defendant was 
insane, and that though they may believe he had some idea of right and 
wrong; yet if the jury believe from all the evidence that the defendant was 
driven to said act by an irresponsible insane impulse which he was on account 
of such insanity unable to control, then, and in that case, there Avould be no 
such intent to commit crime charged, and in that case the jury should find the 
defendant not guilty." 

The prisoner was found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary for 
twenty years. His conduct and appearance during the trial tended strongly 
to prove that he was not in his right mind. He sat heedless during the inves- 
tigation, showing neither concern nor fear, and save when the verdict was read 
in open court, did he seem to realize the terrible punishment before him. He 
was promptly sentenced and taken to Joliet, but only lived to serve about two 
years of his time. 

On December 19, 1878, Joseph Borowick, living in the southern part of 
Sullivant township, the head of a family of Polanders, was shot and mortally 
wounded. Investigation developed the fact that they had procured a large 


quantity of liquor and taken it home, when hiniseli: and family had indulged 
very freely in its use. 

The old gentleman- while in this condition, as was his wont, undertook the 
task of whipping his wife. In the progress of the trouble, his stepson, Maik 
Borowick, became involved, and, as was supposed, in defense of his mother, 
fired the shot which caused the killing. 

]\Iaik was at once arrested, sent to jail, indicted at the April and tried 
at the August term of circuit court, 1879, his Honor, Judge Reeves presiding. 
A. Sample, state's attorney, prosecuted, and Judge Tipton, of Bloomingt<.n, 
defended the prisoner. 

The trial was beset with many difficulties. The chief witnesses were 
Poles and Bohemians, and being uiuible to speak our language, had to be ques- 
tioned through an interpreter. The best interpreter that could be obtained 
was, in many instances, unable to make the witness fully understand the ques- 
tions of the lawyers, or obtain an intelligent answer. The evidence was 
entirely circumstantial, and that not the strongest class. The weather was 
extremely hot, the defendant and his mother appeared largely indifferent to 
the progress of the trial, and the public took but little interest in the case. 

The trial lasted three days, and a verdict of guilty of manslaughter was 
rendered, and ]\Iaik Borowick was sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of 
five years — five days to be spent in solitary confinement and the residue at 
hard labor. While the prisoner manifested no great anxiety in his trial, when 
it was over and he understood that his punishment was imprisonment and not 
hanging, he seemed very highly pleased. 

A trial that attracted a great deal of public interest was that of The Peo- 
ple vs Abram G. Plendryx. 

On April 2G, 1880, in Padua township, McLean county, Illinois, Henry 
Stovenour and Frank Bailey were killed, and Hendryx was on INIay 5 indicted 
by the grand jury of McLean county for committing the offense. On the peti- 
tion of the defendant, change of venue was granted to Ford county, where 
trial was had at the December term of circuit court, 1880, his Honor, Judge 
Reeves, presiding. 

The case was very hotly contested, the people being represented by States 
Attorney Porter, of McLean, and Cook, of Ford county, and General Schenck, 
of Indiana. Messrs. Tipton & Ryan, of Bloomiugton, and John R. Kinnear, 
of Paxton, appearing for the defendant. 

The trial lasted eleven days, while over two hnndred witnesses were in 
attendance from INIcLean comity. Great interest was manifested by the pub- 


lie, and crowds filled the courtroom during the progress of the trial. The plea 
relied on by prisoner's counsel to secure acquittal was that of self-defense, 
Avhich was urged with great ingenuity and persistency in the selection of the 
jury and during the progress of the trial. An entire day was occupied by 
counsel in presenting the case to the jury. The trial was concluded late in 
the afternoon, and the jury then retired. After Ix'ing out about three hours, 
a verdict of "not guilty" was returned, and the prisoner was discharged. The 
costs in this case to JMcLean county were several thousand dollars, and to Ford 
county not a few hundred. 

The following gentlemen sat on the jury in this case : Ira W. Hand, 
James Boyd, Charles A. Cook, Joseph Bushnell, William II. Crowe, Fred 
Potts, Frank P. Xewhart, James F. Ellis, Jacob Snider, John Clayton, Isaac 
Palmer and E. Atw^ood. 

A homicide which our circuit court was called upon to investigate was 
that of Abram Thorp. He was a young man and unmarried. He had lived 
in the vicinity of Paxton, near Trickel's Grove. On Sabbath morning, Sej)- 
tember 30, 1883, his dead body was found lying on the sawdust in Larkin's 
ice-house, located in the alley in the rear of the St. Elmo Restaurant. He had 
apparently been killed by a severe blow on his head. 

James Ryan was at once suspected and arrested. At the coroner's inquest 
it Mas shown that Ryan and Thorp had a difficulty the night previous, during 
which Thorp had severely bitten Ryan's lip; that both men were more or less 
intoxicated, and that early Sabbath morning Ryan had said in substance that 
"he had got even with Abe." 

On this and other evidence he was held for the grand jury, and was 
indicted in December, but obtained a continuance until the April term, 1884, 
when his trial was had. The case was called and jury selected on Tuesday 
tlie 8th, and verdict was I'didcrcd on the following Saturday. Some thirty 
witnesses were sworn on behalf the people and about the same number for the 
defense. A. Sample was associated with F. L. Cook, states attorney, in the 
prosecution, which was most vigorous. 

The prisoner being unable to employ counsel, his honor. Judge Reeves, at 
the term at which indictment was found, assigned as his attorneys E. C. Gray 
and Judge Tipton, who were assisted on the trial by J. II. IMoffett. Tlic 
plea of Ryan was "not guilty." The evidence, though wholly circiunstan- 
tial, satisfied the jury beyond doubt of the defendant's guilt. The jury retired 
on Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning returned their verdict, which was: 



"We, the jiiry find tlie defendant guilty, and fix the term of his imprisonment 
in the penitentiary at thirty-three years." 

Great loeal interest was shown in the trial, and when the arguments of 
counsel were made the courtroom was filled to its utmost capacity. 



David Patton, from June 1859 to December, 1873 ; Hugh P. Beach, 1873- 
86; Milton H. Cloud, 1886-90; Alex ]\IcElroy, 1890-1904; H. II. Kerr, 1904- 


Nathan Simons, 1859, until his death, August 29, 1865; John I. Simons, 
August 31, 1865, to December, 1865; James S. Frederick, 1865-73; INIerton 
Dunlap, 1873-1892 ; William B. Flora, 1892-1908. 


Daniel C. Stoner, June, 1859, to November, 1859 ; John P. Day, Novem- 
ber, 1859-65; James P. Button, 1865, to March 22, 1866; John P. Day, March, 
1866-69; Leonard Pierpont, 1869-73; James D. Kilgore, 1873, to September, 
1874; John B. Shaw, September, 1874-86; Nils Dahlgren, 1886-1890; Oscar V. 
Ilohugram, 1890-1892; N. W. Peterson, 1892-1896; T. J. Sower, 1896-1900; 
Tim Ross, 1900-1904; Thomas Crowe, 1904-1908. 


Samuel L. Day, 1859-64; James F. Hall, 1864-68; Levi A. Dodd, 1868-72; 
Weaver White, 1872-76; Augustus M. Daggett, 1876-80; Weaver White, 1880- 
84; John F. G. Helmer, 1884-1888; Oscar H. Wylie, 1892-1896; Tlumias D. 
Thompsou, 1896-1908. 


Previous to LS72 the district of the states attorn(\v was coextensive with that 
of the circi\it .judge Init by an act passed in 1872 each county elected a states 



attorney. The names of the g:entlemen who served as states attorney at the 
various sessions of onr circuit courts up to 1872. are: Ward H. Lamon, Ver- 
milion county; J. G. Cannon, of Douglas county; and M. B. Thompson, of 
Champaign countj^ 

Under the election hy counties, the list for Ford is as follows : 
Alfred Sample, 1872-80; France L. Cook, 1880-88; A. L. Phillips, 1892- 
1902; L. A. Cranston, 1902-1908. 


Howard Case, 1859-60; James D. Hall. 1860-62; Edward L. Gill. 1862-64; 
William Snyder, 1864-66; Mark Parsons, April 9, 1866, to November 14, 1866; 
Thomas E. Barnhouse, 1866-68; S. L. Edgar, 1868-70; Edward L. Gill, 1870- 
74; Samuel B. Lyman, 1874-82; James W. Ramsay, 1882-86; Benjamin F. 
Mason, 1886-90; James R. Rezner, 1890-94; B. F. Mason, 1894-98; Tim Ross, 
1898-1902 ; Thomas Crowe, 1902-06 ; John H. Nelson, 1906-08. 


William W. Blanchard, 1859-63; Robert McCracken, 1863-65; J. B. Ran- 
dolph, 1865-67; W. C. LeFevre, 1867-69; James Brown, 1869-71; William L. 
Conrow, 1871-73; Robert N. Gorsuch, 1873-77; Daniel H. Armstrong, 1877, to 
February, 1879 ; Samuel A. Armstrong, March, 1879, to September, 1882 ; John 
M. Hanley, September, 1882, to December, 1882; Franz G. Lohman. 1882-90; 
Edward A. Gardener, 1890-1906; H. M. Rudolph, 1906-08. 


James W. Campbell, 1859-61; Jonathan Covalt, 1861-63; John F. Stoner, 
1863-69; Henry J. Howe, 1869-75; Henry McCulloch, 1875-79; Charles B. 
Ellis, 1879-83 ;John R. Lewis, 1884, 1888, 1900; C. R. Ilelmer, 1900-1908. 


Wheeler Bentley, 1859-62; John IT. Evans, 1862-66; Wheeler Bentley, 
1866-67; D. R. Francis, 1867-68; F. F. Fuller, 1868-70; George B. Walker, 
1870-72; John S. Bodwcll, 1872-74; John F. G. Ilelmer, 1874-78; John C. Cul- 
ver, 1878-80; Charles Bradley, 1880-82; Hiram W. Barney, 1882-86; E. B. 
Perry, 1886-1888; W. A. Bicket, 1888-1892; W. A. Hutchison, 1900-1908. 



Owen T. Reeves, Bloomington ; Nathaniel J. Pillsbury, Pontiae ; Franklin 
Blades, Watseka; Alfred Sample, Paxton; Thomas F. Tipton, Bloomington; 
Charles R. Starr, Kankakee ; Colestin D. Myers, Bloomington ; George W. Pat- 
ton, Pontiae ; John II. Moffett, Paxton ; Thomas M. Harris, Lincoln. 


By the aet of January 31, 1861, the representation was fixed at twenty-five 
senators and eighty-five representatives. Ford county was placed in the ninth 
senatorial district and the forty-second representative district. This being the 
first appointment since the organization of Ford, the county was represented 
for the two preceding years in the senate Ijy Thomas A. Marshall, of Coles, and 
in the house of representatives for the same time by Samuel G. Craig, of Ver- 
milion. The ninth senatorial district included the counties of Coles, Douglas, 
Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, Vermilion. Colonel Charles Bogardus repre- 
sented Ford county in the senate, from 1888 to 1899. 

Ford county was represented in the lower house by Charles Bogardus, 
from 1884 to 1888; John A. Montelius, 1901 to 1903; A. L. Phillips, 1905 
to 1907. 


When the new county of Ford was organized, a great and pressing want 
was a suitable place for holding court, rooms for county officers and a jail. 
There had been considerable discussion as to the proper site for the county 
buildings, and some propositions were presented to the county court in regard 
thereto. However, on tlie 16th day of January, 1860, the question was defi- 
nitely settled by an order entered in the county court providing for the loca- 
tion of the courthouse and jail on the site where the present one now stands. 

In June of the same year, an agreement was entered into for the erection 
of the courthouse ; the county judge and associate justices representing the 
county, and James F. Hall being the contractor. 

The original cost as provided in the contract was fixed at eleven thousand 
dollars but tlie plans being afterward somewhat changed and enlarged permission 
was granted by a vote of the people, April, 1861, to add four thousand dollars 
to the first amount. In December, 1861, an additional contract was made 


with Mr. Hall, and the total price increased to sixteen thousand dollars, the 
additional cost being for excavation of the basement, grading the yard and 
construction of outbuildings. 

On February 13, 1862, the building was accepted by the board of super- 
visors, and a county order issued to ]\Ir. Hall for two thousand eight hundred 
and ninety dollars. The records are not very cle;ir as to this sum. tlie writer 
being under the impression that this was the balance still unpaid on the six- 
teen thousand dollars, until assured by parties conversant with the facts that 
this last payment was for additional improvements not named in the contracts. 
This would bring the total cost of the courthouse, as it then stood, up to 
eighteen thousand eight hundred and ninety dollars. The explanation for 
these additions to the original contract price is made "that the original plan 
was found unsatisfactory, and that it was thought best to make the change at 
that time rather than after the work was completed under the first contract." 
Nothing appears to the contrary but that the supervisors and others represent- 
ing the county acted wisely in this regard. Bonds were issued for sixteen 
thousand dollars, bearing interest at the rate of ten per cent per annum. 

The courthouse as first built, contained on the first or ground floor offices 
for the county clerk, circuit clerk, and sheriff, rooms for the jailer and family 
and cells for the prisoners. The second floor contained court and jury rooms. 

After completion of the jail, the cells in the courthouse were removed, 
and in their stead the circuit clerk's office was fitted up. The county clerk 
occupied the room formerly used by the jailer. In INIarch, 1875. a contract 
was entered into with William Daniels for building fire-proof vaults at the 
west end of the courthouse, and other improvements, including the fitting up 
of the clerk's offices as already mentioned. The total cost of the same was 
two thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine dollars and eighty cents. The court- 
house was of ample size to meet the wants of our county for many years. 


At a session of the board of supervisors. INlay, 1871, a committee, consist- 
ing of Supervisors C. E. Henderson. William Noel and James H. Flagg, was 
appointed, with instructions "to examine iiilo tbc matter of building a new 
jail or to repair the old one so as to l)e capable of holding prisoners, and for 
that purpose they are hereby authorized to go abroad and examine such jails 
as in their judgment will be suitable." 

iiii -taiiiU 




At the meeting of the board in June, the committee reported, as the result 
of tlieir labors, a plan for a county jail. The board accepted the report and 
decided in favor of erecting a sheriff's residence and a jail. The plan pre- 
sented by the committee was followed. 

The board again met in July of the same year, and appropriated twenty 
thousand dollars for the erection of the buildings named and directed the 
count\' clerk to issue county orders from time to time as directed by the build- 
ing committee, but not to exceed the sum of fifteen thousand dollars. The 
orders were to bear interest at ten per cent per annum. 

Six-tenths of the county tax collected each year was set apart to meet the 
payment of these county orders. jMessrs. Henderson, Noel and Flagg were 
placed in charge of the work on behalf of the county. 

In September, 1871, the board made an additional appropriation of twelve 
thousand dollars, "for the completion of the sheriff's residence and jail, said 
orders to bear interest at ten per cent per annum, six thousand dollars to be 
paid in five years, and six thousand dollars in ten years." The total cost 
of these buildings, not including discounts on county orders, was something 
more than twenty-eight thousand dollars. This is ascertained by the orders 
issued and estimating discounts on the same, there being no funds in the county 
treasurv at the time. 


The old courthouse was a scene of many interesting things in the history 
of the county. ]\Iany men, who afterward became distinguished citizens of 
the nation, took part in the varied litigation conducted in its courtrooms. 
Among these may be mentioned, Ex-Chief Justice of the United States 
Supreme Court David Davis, now dead; Hon. J. G. Cannon, speaker of the 
national house of representatitves ; and in the early days states attorney of the 
district then including Ford county. 

In December. 1905, a decision was reached by the board of supervisors 
to remodel the old courthouse. At the following January meeting the sum 
to be expended for the work was fixed at fifty-five thousand dollars. The 
plans for the practically new structure were awarded to Joseph W. Royer, 
of Urbana, Illinois, and he was employed as architect. John lehl, H. A. 
MeClure and J. P. Glass were named as the first building committee. 

The new building is located on the site of the old courthouse at Paxton, 
and is a two-story and basement building, ninety-four by eighty feet in 


extreme dimensions. It is constructed in a most su1)stantial manner, accord- 
ing to the latest and most approved methods used in modern fire-proof buildings, 
the materials used being concrete, stone, terra cotta and steel. The building 
is designed in tlie renaissance style of architecture, all molding, pilasters, 
cornices, etc., having classic outlines. The beautiful structure is sur- 
mounted b>' a low copper-covered dome. The base, entrance-ways, quoins on 
corners and architraves around windows are of buif Bedford stone. The cor- 
nice and cartouches are of terra cotta, while tlie balistrade around the roof is 
of brick and stone. All exterior portions of the building, where stone and 
terra cotta are not used, are laid up in very dark, vitrified brick, thus giving 
a great contrast. The roof is made of tile laid in concrete, which, in turn, 
is supported by steel trusses and beams. The heighth of the main corridor 
from the ground is forty feet, and the heighth of dome, at base of flag-staff, 
is seventy-two feet. 

The interior of the linilding is finished throughout in best manner, all 
floors and walls being fire-proof. All corridors and public spaces in offices have 
tile floors and marble wainscoating. The stairs are of iron and steel, with 
marble treads and landings. The woodwork throughout is of white oak, with 
furniture and fixtures to match. The interior is decorated in oil colors, very 
artistically executed, and presents a very pleasing effect to the eye, as well 
as being extremely durable. 

The basement is occupied by storage vaults, boiler room, fuel room, work 
room, Grand Army room and coroner's room, and is aided by a stair leading 
from main corridor on first Hoor. 

The first floor is occupied l)y the principal officers of the county. As 
you enter the l)uilding at the center of the front, you find at the right, the 
county clerk's, county treasurer's and the county judge's rooms. On the left, 
are the offices of the circuit clerk, the sheriff' and tlic board of supervisors. 
All principal offices are provided with ample vault room and private offices. 

The stairs leading from the first to the second floor, are directly in line 
with the main entrance, and form one of the main features of the building. 

On Die second floor are the offices of the county superintendent of schools 
and the states attorney; also the circuit courtroom, jury room, lawyers room, 
law library, judge's private office and toilet rooms for men and women, as well 
as the ladies waiting room. 

While th(> Ford comity courthouse is not as large as those of some other 
c(mnties, a careful inspection of the building will convince one that, owing to 
the convenient arrangement and equipment, the accommodations of the build- 


ing are equal to those of many larger and- more costlj' struetures. The building 
is fully equipped with electric lights and fixtures, and is also piped throughout 
for gas. 

The new courthouse building, in which the people take the greatest pride, 
was dedicated with appropriate exercises, June 11, 1908. The building was 
occupied early in the fall of 1907. 

The following were the dedicatory services : 



Thursday, June 11, A. D. 3908 


TEN o'clock a. M. 

Music Paxton Band 

Invocation Rev. G. E. Hemdahl 

Music Double ]\Iale Quartet 

Address of Welcome on Behalf of Ford County J. P. Glass 

Address of Welcome on Behalf of City of Paxton. .JMayor C. E. Beach 

Response to Addresses of Welcome J. P. Smith 

Music Double j\Iale Quartet 

Address H. A. McClure 

Address : Judge C. D. Myers 



Civic Parade, Led by Fourth Regiment Uniform Rank Knights of 
Pythias, under Connnand of Colonel John Bertoni. 

Music Paxton Band 

Vocal Selection Chorus of School Children 

Presentation of Keys of New Courthouse by John lehl, introduced by 
J. W. Gilkerson, Chairman of Building Committee. 
Response and Acceptance of Keys by George Stockdale, Chairman of 
Board of Supervisors. 


Mnak' Double ]\Iale Quartet 

Addresrj Hon. I. N. Phillips 

Music Paxton Band 

Address Judge T. ^I. Harris 

Address Judge G. W. Patton 


The county almshouse was erected in 1897. It is built of brick, with stone 
trimmings, three stories with basement and attic. It has accommodations for 
about fifty inmates and is equipped with ample facilities for their care. There 
are also good, substantial outbuildings, such as barn, toolhouse, slaughterhouse, 
sheds, etc. 

The farm is composed of one hundred and sixteen and fifty-seven hun- 
dredths acres and is kept in a high state of cultivation and well stocked with 
the necessary farm animals, n)achinery, etc. The pauper relief expenses of the 
county have been much reduced since this farm was purchased and put in 



On November 6. 1867, an election was held to determine "whether said 
county of Ford shall subscrilie to the capital stock of the Lafayette. Blooming- 
ton & Mississippi Railway to the amount of four thousand dollars per mile, 
for tlie distance which said road shall traverse said Ford county to aid in the 
foustruction of said railway." 

This subscription amounted to one lumdi-ed and twelve thousand dollars, 
the distance ])eing twenty-eight miles. A majority of votes were cast for the 

On .laiiiKify 17. 1868, an election was held "to dctcr-mine whether said 
county sliall subscri])e to the capital stock of the Lafayette, Bloomington & 
Mississippi Railway to the amount of thirty thousand dolhirs, in addition to 
what has already been subscribed." 

This pi'ojxjsition was also adopted. In December, 1871, a coiiunittee rep- 
resenting the ])oar(l of supervisors reported that the railroad company had 
complied with all r('(|iiirements of the l)oar(l. The (lucstion arising upon issuing 
the bonds as voted to the amount of one hundred and forty-two thousand dol- 


lars, David Keigliin, then a supervisor from IMona, introduced a resolution 
fixing the rate of interest at six per cent, which was defeated by a vote of six 
to five. 

On January 2, 1872, the board ordered the bonds issued for the full amount, 
payable in ten .years, with interest at ten i^er cent per annum. The certifi- 
cate of stock was thereupon issued at the county by the railroad authorities. 

Similar certificates were issued to other counties and several townships 
which had voted aid to this railroad. It was afterward claimed by these coun- 
ties and townships that this was the only bona fide stock in this railroad, 
notwithstanding that certificates of stock had been issued to indivduals by the 
directors of said road in sufficient amounts to control the elections in selecting 
directors ; and thus control the railroad. 

In the latter part of 1873, the board directed Alfred Sample, states attor- 
ney, to investigate the management and records of said railroad. Mr. Sample 
did so and made an exhaustive and satisfactory report to the board of the 
results of his labors, he having carefully examined the company's books at 
Toledo, Ohio. At the next annual meeting for the election of directors of the 
Lafayette, Bloomington & Mississippi Railway, held at Bloomington, Illinois, 
January 20, 1874, representatives of the several townships and counties 
appeared and presented their claims to be heard, etc. A warm, interesting and 
somewhat noisy meeting was held, which resulted in those representing the 
railroad company withdrawing and holding their meeting elsewhere. 

The representatives of the people remained at the appointed place and 
proceeded to elect a board of twelve directors, those from Ford county being 
0. D. Sackett, Alfred Sample, John H. Collier and Merton Dunlap, who had 
been authorized by the board of supervisors to represent the interests of this 
county at said meeting. 

The following officers were then elected: F. Henderson, president; 0. D. 
Sackett, vice president; N. S. Sunderland, treasurer; A. Sample, attorney; 
Merton Dunlap, secretary. 

The contest for the control of the railroad continued for about two years 
in the courts, when the w^hole matter was suddenly brought to an end by the 
sale of the railroad under the mortgage which was given by the directors of the 
road at an early period of its existence. 

While this relieved Ford county from any further responsibility in the 
management of the railroad, the indebtedness of one hundred and forty-two 
thousand dollars still remained. 


On Jaimai-y 22, 1S80, a contraet was entered into Ijetween the board of 
supervisors and a firm in New York eity by whieh these bonds were funded 
into six per cent bonds, due in twenty 3^ears, witli the privik^ge to the county 
of paying the same any time after five years. 

It seems proper in this connection to make a brief menti3n of the contest 
between the people and the railroad companies, beginning in 1873. It was 
claimed that the latter were charging illegal and unjust rates for passenger 
fare and freights. This question assumed such a magnitude in Ford county 
that in the election for county officers in that year the voters united without 
regard to party, and the "Farmers' ticket" was elected by a large majority. 

The state legislature passed a stringent law against unjust discrimina- 
tions, and prescribed that three cents per mile for roads of the class of the 
Illinois Central should be the maximum charge for passenger travel. Rates 
for transportation of freights were also fixed. A board of railroad commis- 
sioners was appointed whose duty it was to see this law enforced. 

The contest continued in the court for several years with but little suc- 
cess for the people. In December, 1879, a public meeting was held at the 
courthouse in Paxton, at which a resolution was adopted requesting A. Sam- 
ple, states attorney, to prosecute all infractions of the railroad law in Ford 
county. Soon after this, commissioners met the business men and farmers of 
this locality in this city. Mr. Sample presented an extended list of extor- 
tionate rates imposed by the railroads in violation of law. Of the commis- 
sioners, Hon. William Smith, chairman, and Mr. Oberly earnestly favored the 
enforcement of the law. 

This meeting, through which was manifested the determination of the peo- 
ple to push matters, provoked considerable interest among the railway officials. 
Some of them came to this place to investigate as to how far the people were 
disposed to go and if matters coidd not be compromised. 

Briefly stated, after considerable agitation and correspondence between the 
iMJIway managers. Chairman Smith and ^Mr. Sample, the leading roads con- 
cluded to comply with flic law as to passenger and freight rat(>s. Sul)se((U(>ntly 
another serious ({uestion ai'ose regai'ding freights from within and with- 
out the state, the companies claiming this to be a matter to be regulated by 
congress. East and west lines charged, for example, more on freight from 
Oilman to New York city tlian from Peoria, a distance of eighty-five miles. 

The matter was finally detci-minod in favor of t]i(> state law by a suit 
brought ill the Foi'd comity circuit court In' Mr. Sample in 1882. The case 
was stfongly contested by the i-ailroads, but the supreme court decided 


adversely to tlieiii, setting forth the reasons in one of tlie most ehiborate opin- 
ions filed for years. 

Ford county, at the breaking out of the war of 1861, being so recently 
formed and having a population of less than two thousand, did not organize 
any company of soldiers. However, many of our patriotic citizens enlisted 
in commands organized in adjoining counties and elsewhere in the state. It 
would give us pleasure to publish their names in this work, but the difficulty 
of obtaining a complete list is insurmountable, and a partial list would be very 


At a meeting of the supervisors, August, 1862, a resolution was introduced 
by Supervisor Button and duly adopted, providing for a county tax of five 
mills on the dollar for the purpose of paying each volunteer sixty dollars and 
to create a fund for the support of soldiers' families during their absence. 

The following eonnnittees were appointed to disburse the funds for sol- 
diers' families: Patton Township — William Walker, J. H. Flagg, J. F. Hall; 
Drummer's Grove — J. H. Kendall, J. E. Davis, Leonard Pierpont; Stockton — 
S. K. Marston, T. W. Pope, G. B. Winter. In December, 1863, the bounty 
was increased to three hundred dollars to each volunteer. 

In April, 1864, a draft having been ordered to fill the ciuota of this county 
for seventy-eight men, an order was adopted by the supervisors offering a 
bounty of one thousand dollars to each man drafted, who should be accepted 
by the government. 

However, it transpired that bounties b}^ counties exceeding the sum of three 
hundred dollars were illegal, and efforts were made to legalize this one thousand 
dollars bountj^ by a special act of the general assembly. It did not succeed, 
and consequently but three hundred dollars could be paid to each man. Feb- 
ruary, 1865, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars was appropriated b3' the 
supervisors to procure volunteers to fill the county quota, the amount for each 
volunteer not to exceed three hundred dollars. 

The adjutant general's report, Vol. 1, page 194, makes the following show- 
ing for this county: 


Prior to December 31, 1865. 

Total quota 300 

Total credits 222 

Deficit of men 78 

December 31, 1865. 

Total quota 272 

Total credit 271 

Deficit 1 

On page 276 of said report is the following, showing "expenditures and 
liabilities incurred by Ford county in aid of the suppression of the late rebel- 
lion, as reported to the adjutant general's office: 

Bounties .$72,426 15 

Transportation 10,000 00 

Soldiers' families 3,861 94 

Total • $86,288 09 

G. A. R. POSTS. 

There are in this county three posts of the Grand Army of the Republic, 
as follows: 

LOTT POST, NO. 70, G. A. R. 

This post was organized and mustered at Gibson November 3, 1879. 

The following is the membership to February 28, 1884; Captains, J. II. 
Collier, Austin Crabbs, Willard Proctor. First Lieutenants, J. N. INIcVicker, 
Samuel Johnston, J. J. McCormack, Russell Puntney. Second Lieutenant, S. 
A. Armstrong. Sergeants, R. M. Smith, J. T. McClure, II. J. Ring, A. J. 
Ilam. J. E. Collier, F. P. Wood, Fred Potts, George W. Preston, James Grant, 
Frank Du Close, J. S. Frederick. Corporals, S. J. LeFevre, W. II. Vreeland, 
W. P. Aaron, J. L. IMitchell, Mark Anthony, W. E. IMcMullen, S. S. Barnes, 
L. L. Garrett, F. IM. Anderson, T. M. Bunch. Musicians, R. A. McClure, John 
(Jrove. Privates, H. M. Blacker, J. D. P>ell, G. \V. Ilaupt, S. A. Plank, Daniel 


Cniiuin.\-, Charles riiillips, J. N. Vaughn, James Allen, J. D. Corbiu, P. W. 
Dale, C. C. Hoiidyshell, 0. 0. Perrin, S. Emmons, H. E. Shearer, J. R. Lott, 
Ralph IMulvane, C. Ashby, W. T. Estes, William Day, J. M. Phillips, W P. 
Jones, E. Barnabee, J. M. Burner, W. H. Simms, M. K. IMeDowell, J. M. 
Mitchell, V. C. IMcDowell, 0. H. Damon, T. B. Stranss, J. W. Rinehart, P. H. 
Fanght, A. Stratton, W. Bowen, J. G. Barker, M. W. Seott, W. Gilchrist, D. 
Baylor, L. L. Flora, J. S. Sawyer, Charles B. Payner (saddler), Elmer Ashby, 
J. W. IMoore, D. S. Hall, V. G. Way, W. Ramey, J. H. Stathem, J. II. Arrow- 
smith, Nelson Smith, II. A. Grove, J. R. Gilchrist, John Joos, A. J. Cooper, S. 


List of members to February 28, 1884 ; officers 1884 ; F. 0. Walrich, Com- 
mander; H. P. Beach, S. V. C; T. J. Sowers, J. V. C. ; S. D. Culbertson, 
Surgeon ; G. ^L Williams, Adjutant ; Ira W. Hand, Chaplain ; W. Dick, 0. D. ; 
J. R. Rezner, 0. G. ; J. A. Montelius, Q. M. ; D. W. Turney, S. M. ; C. R. Jack- 
son, Q. ^I. S. IMembers, Robert Hevener, James Healey, J. G. T. Luther, B. 
G. Church, J. S. Campbell, T. W. Eaton, Robert R. Farris, J. C. Moore, C. C. 
Crandell. Charles Litsy, D. Ritchie, W. P. Moore, D. H. Rodgers, B. H. Mor- 
row, AV. B. ]\Iiller, W. W. Coburn, W. T. Riggs, James Feeley, A. J. Long, 
J. ]\IcBride, J. Wagner, E. B. Beighle, C. Fable. 

P^VXTON POST, NO. 387, G. A. R. 

Organized January 12, 1884. Membership to March 6, 1884: Officers, 
Colonel Charles Bogardus, Commander ; M. II. Cloud, S. V. C. ; W. C. Hutchi- 
son, J. V. C; T. M. King, Q. U.; C. M. Taylor, Chaplain; B. F. Mason, 0. 
D.; John Swanson, 0. G. ; J. W. Ramsay, Adjutant; W. M. Wilson, S. M. ; 
William Cramer, Q. M. S. ]\Iembership, G. L. Atkinson, A. H. Bridgeman, 
Charles Bogardus, J. M. Briney, G. W. Berdine, M. H. Cloud, William Cramer, 
M. Cramer, M. V. Davis, Stacey Daniels, W. C. Hutchison, Frederick Johnson, 
Theodore M. King, B. F. I^Iason, F. McFarlaud, Taylor Pyle, John A. Peter- 
son, T. S. Peacock, J. W. Ramsay, John Swanson, Alfred Sample, C. ]\I. Tay- 
lor, J. D. Wilson, Thomas Wier, W. :\I. Wilson, W. T. Westbrook, Henry 



Company C, Ninth Battalion Illinois National Guards, was organized 
March 27, 1876. The list of original members has been furnished, and is as 
follows, viz: 

Captain, H. C. Baughman ; First Lieutenant, F. 0. Walrich ; Second Lieu- 
tenant, D. F. Walden ; Orderly Sergeant, J. P. IMadden ; Sergeants, John Nein- 
mier, J. D. Parsons, E. F.Pulver, J. T. Wilson; J. R. Rezner, Color Sergeant 
Ninth Battalion; Corporals, J. W. Ramsay, J. R. Bagly, S. Kiblinger, Frank 
Kiblinger; Musician, II. S. Randall; privates, Henry Allnut, Watson Bishop, 
John Hobbis, E. A. Kice, G. I\I. Bagley, N. G. Plank, J. S. Telfer, J. B. Tel- 
fer W. ]\I. Thompson, Joseph C. Kirk, M. Johnson, William Hartley, James Lis- 
ton, Alex Listun, J. Netterville, John C. Zea. 

The company was reorganized September 4, 1877, in accordance with the 
new military code, and under the consolidation of the different regiments and 
battalions May 4, 1882, was assigned to the Fourth Regiment, and was known as 
Company H. 

The present commissioned officers are Frank 0. Walrich, captain ; John 
Rorbach, first Lieutenant ; J. R. Rezner, second lieutenant. 


My first visit to the western — now the middle western states was in the 
autumn of 1852. I came by canal packet boat to Buft'alo, by rail to Cleveland, 
by steamer to Toledo (the railroad between the latter places was not in opera- 
tion) and by Michigan Southern railroad to Chicago, stopping en route to visit 
friends in southern Michigan. From Chicago, a side trip was made to JMilwau- 
kee by steamer returning by rail and stage (an open sleigh) via Madison, Wis- 
consin and Rockford, Illinois. This was not a ''Homeseeker's" trip, for at that 
time I had no thought of making a home in the west, but the microbe got in its 
work and in due time, developed into a case of genuine western fever. 

In the spring of 185;] ]\Ir. E. R. Fay and myself came west together and 
without nuu'h delay he (U'eich'd to locate in Ottawa, Illinois. lie opened an 
office there and in due time became a leading l)anker of the i)la,ce. This time I 
did not stay west long but came again the foUowing s])ring prepared to make 
some investments. Three or four of us joined together and employed a surveyor 
(Major Ilitt) and he and I made many selections from government lands in 
Livingston county, and went together to the land ottice in Danville to purchase 
the same, but for some reason they could not, or woidd not sell at that time but 


placed our aijplication on tile; but nothing eanie of it. It was claimed that 
other filings were ahead of ours. Returning from Danville via the Danville 
and Ottawa travel road, we evidently passed over the present site of Paxton, l^iit 
there was nothing in sight, not even a railroad stake, as I believe, to fix the loca- 
tion in my memory, but I claim this was my first visit to Paxton. About 4 P. 
M. our road led us near to D. C. Stoners' house, which he had built and moved 
his family iuto a, short time before. Learning that there was no house of any 
kind on this line of road nearer than Oliver's Grove, twenty miles or more away, 
we decided to remain with the Stoners over night. This was my first night in 
Ford county. 

]\Iy second trip through Ford county was in 1854. A business trip for H. 
F. Fames, then a banker at Ottawa and later president of Commercial National 
Bank of Chicago, took me to Decatur via the Illinois Central main line, thence 
to Danville by stage coach. Rain and mud interfered with further progress. 
Finally, learning that the Illinois Central (Chicago branch) was laid as far 
south as Pera (now Ludlow) and that a mixed train left that point for Chicago 
at about two P. M. each day, another party and I engaged a livery man to take 
us to that place, agreeing to pay him ten dollars if he got us there before the train 
left, otherwise eight dollars The last mile or two was made with the team on 
the full run nnd the locomotive calling us at every jump. We got into Chicago 
at about 1 A. M. next morning. We were the only passengers and we left the 
train at Hyde Park, then cpiite outside the city limits. 

This second passage over the present site of Paxton, like the first, left no 
special impression on my mind. It was only a part of the great grand prairie. 
The spring of 1855 found Leander Britt, a personal friend from my native town, 
and myself in Chicago, and fully decided to make the west our future home. 
Great bargains in the way of city lots were offered us and glowing pictures of 
prospective profits on such investments were spread before us by wide-awake real- 
estate dealers, but it was broad acres of rolling prairie that we sought, not the 
limited area of mud and water called a city lot. 

The Illinois Central Railroad lands had just been put on the market and a 
few interviews with the officials and their promise of special inducements to 
early buyers, soon decided us to investigate along their lines, and with a horse 
and buggy sliii)ped from New York and with railroad passes in our pockets 
to use if needed, we set out by ourselves on a prospecting tour southward. It 
was lovely spring weather, and fairly good roads, and, but for ])oor board and 
poorer lodgings, it woidd liave been in every way enjoyable. However, at 
Loda we fovuul things iti this line (piite satisfactory. Mr. Russell, the station 


agent, and his wife were late arrivals, and had plenty of good things to eat 
and knew how to use them. There was no other family or person there and 
they seemed glad to see us and have us stay awhile, so we toolc the opportunity 
to rest our horse and fill ourselves up. We were favorably impressed with 
the country in the vicinity of Loda and southward, and after going as far south 
as Champaign, then the terminus of the railroad, returned to Loda and made 
a sort of headquarters there. 

Aljcmt this time we visited Middleport, now Watseka, and in an interview 
with a former resident of our native county in New York and who was then 
a judge of Iroquois county, he stated that in liis opinion a new county could 
be made from that part of Vermilion county which is now Ford county, and 
explained why it could be made in no other way. Also, that if properly 
managed the county seat could be made at some point located on the Illinois 
Central Railroad where it crossed said proposed new county. Previous to this 
time, we had selected with the view of purchase three and one-half sections 
eastward from the present town of Paxton, and with this new thought in mind, 
we added to our list the eighty acres covering the central portion of this city 
as it stands today. IMaterial concessions in price were made to us on the three 
and one-half sections, and on the performance of certain conditions, a side track 
was promised us on the eighty acre tract. No mention was made at that time 
to any one of our possible plan for the new county and county seat. 

In spite of the financial calamities of 1857 and consequent depression of all 
land values, the three and one-half sections were finally disposed of and hand- 
some profits realized. The promise of the side track was secured by the land 
department from Superintendent Doane and conditioned that George B. Me- 
Clellan, the chief engineer, approve. This he promptly did and in tliis way 
became cognizant to the agreement, which proved of vast importance to us :ns 
will be explained later on in this paper. 

Our purchase of the eighty acres and our scheme for a new county aiid 
county seat were carefully concealed at that time. Plans for a new county witli 
Loda for county seat were already talked of and symptons of a l)ooni for Loda 
were manifest. Our final contracts for the land were made in June, 1855. I 
then went home to assist in the harvest on the old farm, but returned to Illinois 
in November and stayed till January, 1856. I again made Mr. RusseU's head- 
quarters and Mr. Addison Goodcll and I occupied the ladies' room in passenger 
house and slept (when not kept awake by wolves) t)n a folding cot or sofa, which 
I had purchased in Chicago. Soon after New Years I went home to New York 
and came back early in April and date my residence in Illinois from that time. 


During' this winter, 1855-6 I purchased in my owu name one hundred and sixty 
acres covering ''the Hill" and the more level land north thereof to the east roail, 
also, in connection with A. D. Southworth, a full section (six hundred and forty 
acres) near the present town of Rankin for two dollars and fifty cents per acre, 
and later sold my half for fourteen dollars per acre. 

A few days before my final departure from New York, at his rec^uest, I made 
known to W. H. Pells our plans and prospects for a new county. He then 
proposed to join us in the enterprise provided certain other lands adjoining 
could be purchased, and of course provided that, upon examination, he found 
things as I stated them to be. It was understood that we should secure options 
on these certain lands, and, wlien this was done he would come out and investi- 
gate. This he did early in June, 1856 and was well pleased. The land was 
purchased and the firm of Pells, Britt & Murdock created. 

The new firm controlled three hundred and forty acres — all that was most 
desirable for town site purposes. After ]\Ir. Britt 's death, Mr. Pells arranged 
for the Britt undivided one-third interest. Having secured all the land we 
cared to purchase ourselves, w^e then proposed to certain persons to purchase land 
adjoining our own and thus become interested in the scheme. ]\Ir. James Mix 
Avas one of these persons and he promptly acted on our suggestion. The 
purchase proved profitable to him and he very useful to the enterprise. Until 
this time — midsunmier 1856 — our plan, even the fact of our owning any lands 
at this point, was carefully concealed. Paxton then consisted of three small 
houses, located near the south railroad crossing of the present town. There 
were no other improvements in sight, not even a stake to indicate that a town 
had ever been thought of. Meantime, Loda was booming in anticipation of its 
becoming the county seat of a new county. 

In September the survey of the toAvn plat was conunenced and the erection 
of a six room house was rushed as fast as men and the delivery of material would 
permit, and, before it was fairly finished, INIrs. James B. Taft, a widowed sister 
of Mr. Britt, arrived from the east, prepared to take charge of it. This duty 
was ably and faithfully performed by her, and, although not so intended, neces- 
sity made it a sort of hotel for a while and the little liouse was often filled to 
overflowing. Mr. Britt lived and died in this house and after his death IMrs. 
Taft and her son 0. B. Taft, now of Chicago, resided there for many years. 

During the summer of 1856 improvements were made by Britt and Murdock 
on one of the half sections of railroad land, as was agreed on their purchase. 
These improvements and certain other conditions having been fulfilled, we asked 
for the side track that had been promised by Superintendent Doane and endorsed 


by George B. McClellaii l)iit Superintendent Doaiie was dead, and the president 
then acting as superintendent would not recognize the agreement made ^\•ith us. 
McClellan then took the matter uj) for us and we learned that he and the 
president had some hot words over it, but the president would not yield. ;i\[r. 
McClellan said "Wait," with a manner impl\ing that we should finally get the 
side track. Later w^e got word from him to come to Chicago and I went 
promptly. At the office he stated that the president had gone to Europe and that 
he himself was acting superintendent and requested me to meet him at his board- 
ing house in the evening. At this meeting it was arranged that we should have a 
regular station with a side track and some sort of station building, which pnn'ed 
to be an old shop, wrecked, moved and set up again, made fairly comfortable l)ut 
far from ornamental. We w^ere to grade for the side track and I was to act as 
station agent, the consideration therefor to be a commission on gross receipts. 
My first month's pay was eight dollars and thirty-six cents. I held the position 
for several years and until the per cent amounted to much more than the company 
was willing to allow as salary for the services rendered. I then resigned. The 
station was opened for business on or about December 1, 1856. 

About the time the station matter was settled, and before tlie side track was 
completed, Blaine & Hanly shipped in a full train of lumber — twenty cars or 
more. It had to be unloaded wdiile standing on the nuiin line. Everybody 
from far and near lent a hand and the work was done in double-quick time. 

A postoffice was easily obtained by removing the old Ten INIile Grove office, 
but a new name for it and the station was demanded. This proved less easy to 
settle than w^as expected. The appropriate and desirable names seemed to be 
already in use elsewhere. Our neighbors took occasion to suggest some names 
for us, but we accepted none of them. Prospect City was finally adopted, the 
promoter, whoever he was explaining that the "Prospect" was in consideration 
of its sightly situation, its prospective views in all directions, etc. Everything 
was "City" in those days — it was the fashion — so "City" was affixed. Almost 
the first new arrival after the name was proclaimed looked arouiul carefully and 
declared it was all prospect and no city. He took the next train and never came ^ 
back. We soon tired of the name and changed it to Paxton in honor of Lord 
Paxton of Scotland, then a large Illinois Centi'al stock' holder. We expected a 
visit and perhaps a present from him but he never came. However we got a 
good name for our town. The new postoffice w^as created, I think, November, 
1856, and Mr. Leander Britt was made postmaster and filled that position for 
several years — as long as his failing health permitted. 


Promptly on tlie coiiveiiiiiij: of the 1857 session of the Illinois state legislature, 
delegates from Loda appeared with their plan for a new county, of course so 
shaped that Ijoda must become the county seat thereof. 

We were at that time nowise prepared for a new coiinty fight, and if a county 
seat had been tendered us then we could not have accepted or cared for it. 

Our hope lay in postponing the issue for two years. The law provided, 
(and still provides) that the legislature may authorize a vote on the question of 
new counties, and when made up from two or more counties, must have a major- 
ity vote- of each and every county interested. We had good reason to believe 
that Iro(iuois county would not, at that time consent to separate any portion of 
its territory for any purpose whatever, but we felt obliged to make some sort of 
fight in the matter and to have a delegation in Springfield to care for our 
interests there. It was arranged that INIr. Britt and Mr. IMix should do this 
Avork and the duty w^as well performed. 

Such questions are practically settled in the committee room ; the legislature 
simply sanctions by formal vote what the committee recommends. In the 
committee room much haggling and loud talk were indulged in. Many different 
plans were proposed. Several such sessions were held. Finally a new county 
bill was submitted, promptly passed and signed by the governor. 

The Loda delegates had asked for six miles off the west side of Iroquois 
county and that part of Vermilion county now Ford county but perhaps due to 
a confusion in the committee room, a mistake was made and the bill as passed 
called for twelve miles off Iroquois county and six miles square out of the north- 
west corner of what is now Vermilion county. Both counties voted against the 
new county as proposed. The Loda delegation never (|uite understood how this 
mistake occurred. 

The years 1857 and 1858 were lively seasons for ])oth towns. Both clniuK^d 
to be dead sure of becoming the county seat, and both gained rapidly in popu- 
lation and trade, and as the period for the legislative session of 1859, both 
prepared for the fight of their lives. W. IT. Pells. James Mix and Leander 
Britt were our regular delegation and spent most of the winter in Springfield. 
I and others were there for brief periods. 

Loda's plan for the new county necessarily involved a portion of Iroquois 
county. Our plan was Ford county as it now exists. There was no other town 
in it and our chance to become the county seat was thus assured. It was plain 
that Vermilion county would vote off that much and no more for a new county. 
The issue was with Iroquois county. Would the voters favor cutting off any 
part for the new county? Those favoring the Loda scheme declared they would. 




William H. Pells, who was so v/ell known to the early settlers of this 
community for his enterprise, integrity and sterling worth, may well be called 
not only one of the fathers of Paxton, but also of Ford county. He was a 
native of Poughkeepsie, New York, born June 12, 1813. His educational 
advantages were limited to a few years' attendance at the schools of his native 
city, but by reading and contact with the business world he became a well 
informed man and a shrewd financier. When only thirteen years of age he 
was compelled by force of circumstances to begin life's struggle on his OAvn 
account. His father, who Avas financially well-to-do, by endorsing for others 
became involved in financial ruin. 

The independence and self-reliance of young William asserted themselves 
in a marked degree. Going to New York city, he spent six months driving a 
milk wagon, after which he secured a position as clerk in a grocery store, 
continuing until 1830. That year witnessed his emigration to Palmyra,. New 
York, where he arrived penniless. Though not an experienced woodman, he 
replenished his exchequer by chopping wood and clearing land. Though a mere 
boy, he was possessed of indomitable energy and if he could not get employ- 
ment to which he was accustomed, he accustomed himself to such employment 
as .he could get. The same business he followed at Ridgeway. There on the 
19th of November, 1831, he entered the store of H. Francis as clerk. His 
carefully husbanded earnings were judiciously invested in good lands in that 
vicinity, Avhich Avere then selling from $3.00 to $5.00 per acre, and thus was laid 
a safe foundation, for financial growth. Domestic by nature, Mr. Pells early 
in life sought to surround himself with the hallowed influence of wife and 
home. The lady of his choice was Miss Maria B. Whitaker, a native of 
Norfolk, England, to whom he Avas married in 1836. 

After clerking ten years Mr. Pells became a full partner in the store Avith 
his employer and in 18-16 became sole proprietor, continuing until 1851 Avith 
marked success. Admitting his brother to partnership, the business Avas carried 
on by the tAvo until 1856, Avhen Mr. Pells disposed of his entire interest. The 
same year he purchased from the Medina & Alabama Plank Road Company 
that part of the road extending from Medina to RidgeAA^ay. In the hands of 
the Company it had been a losing investment, but Mr. Pells Avith characteristic 
thoroughness, rebuilt it Avith elegant gravel, making it one of the best roads in 
the state, paying a liberal yearly dividend on the large amount of money 
expended in its construction. He continued to operate the road until the 
charter expired in 1881. 

In 1856, Mr. Pells came to Avhat is noAV Ford County, Illinois, though then 
it Avas part of Vermilion County. He, R. R. Murdock and Leander Britt 
purchased the site and laid out Prospect City, as Paxton was then called. With 


commendable pride he watelied the growth of the infant town and to the last 
heartily assisted in everything that wonld advance its growth. In 1859 he 
took a prominent part in the organization of Ford connty and in making 
Paxton the seat of justice. Schools, churches and charities of all kinds found 
in him a liberal supporter. Every interest promising to l)c l)eneficial to the 
town or county claimed his attention. 

In 1866 he began the erection of Pells' Block, completing it in 1867, a 
three-story brick block with 50 feet frontage on IMarket street, where the 
Lee & Grayson and Samuelson brick business buildings now stand. 

The two first floor rooms were occupied by the J. S. Loose dry-goods store 
and the bank of Toy & Thompson, until they built the bank building noAv owned 
l)y Paxton bank. The second floor was occupied by offices and for years the 
Paxton Record had its home on the third floor. This was the first iron front 
liuilding erected in Ford county. This block was destroyed by fire in October, 
1874, that began in the next building south of this, and burned eleven business 
houses before it could be checked. 

He was one of the promoters and organizers of the Lafayette, Bloomington 
& ]\Iississippi Railroad Company and for several years was its vice president. 
But for his earnest efforts and those of a few others along the line of the road, 
it probably never would have been built. It has since become a part of the 
Lake Erie & Western system. 

In 1876 he visited Petoskey, Michigan, and being favorably impressed with 
the climate and soil, purchased a large tract of land containing twelve 
thousand acres in Emmet county, which was then almost an unbroken forest, 
inhabited by one hundred whites and eleven hundred Indians. In 1882 the 
Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad ran through Mr. Pells' tract of land, near 
the center of which sprang up a town, named by tln^ railroad company in honor 
of him, Pellston. 

In political sentiment Mr. Pells was an old-line democrat, a great admirer 
of Stephen A. Douglas and like Douglas, a war democrat, contributing always 
most liberally for the good of the soldiers and their families. Though not an 
aspirant for places of public trust, lie held a number of official positions. In 
religious belief he was a Universalist. 

Mr. and ]\Irs. Pells had a family of three children, though only one now 
living; Hannah W., wife of Colonel Charles Bogardus, of Paxton. His son, 
Edgar Z. Pells, died at Rochester, New York, in 1899. 

After a brief married life of only nine years, Mr. Pells was deprived by 
death of his companion. Notwithstanding he survived her over forty years, 
she was his only wetldcd companion. On the 26th of -lune, 1886, j\Ir. Pells 
joined his Avife and child in the spirit world, while his body was laid to rest 
beside that of his wife at Ridgeway, New York. He was a man possessed of 
such traits of character as are worthy to l)e imitated and should never be 
forgotten; shrewd ;iiid i'ai'-sighted in business affairs, scrupulously honest, 
free-hearted, charitable, with a kind woi'd and tender thought for all. His 
charities were always unostentatious and quietly given and kept from the 
public when possible. 



The world instinctively pays deference to the man whose success has been 
gained through his own efforts and whose methods have ever been such as 
Avill bear close investigation and scrutiny. Such has been the record of 
Colonel Charles Bogardus, one of the most prominent and influential citizens 
of Ford county. The progenitor of the different branches of the Bogardus 
family in America was Everardus Bogardus, a Dutch Reform clergyman, who 
emigrated from Holland to New Amsterdam (now New York city,) in 1633, 
and was the second minister in that city, residing on what is now Broad 
street. In 1638 he married Annetje, widow of Roelof Jansen, (her name was 
corrupted later into Anneke Jans,) who had obtained a grant of sixty-two 
acres of land, (she being a relative of King William and Mary,) in what 
is now the center of New York city. This farm, long known as "Dominie's 
Bowery," in time became vested in Trinity church by unfair means and caused 
continuous litigation until about the middle of the nineteenth century. He is 
the only one of the name that has come to this country. 

Colonel Bogardus is a lineal descendant of the above clergyman and is a 
son of James H. and Louisa M. Bogardus. He was born in Cayuga county. 
New York, March 28, 1841, and when but little over six years of age was left 
an orphan, both parents being taken away by an epidemic. He was taken by 
an uncle, W. H. Bogardus, who gave him common-school advantages until he 
was about twelve years of age, at which time young Charles entered a grocery 
store as clerk at a salary of a dollar and a half per week. This position he 
held for nearly four years, receiving increase in salary from time to time. His 
eai'nings were paid every Saturday night to the uncle, who, without the boy's 
knowledge, invested the same for him and subsequently offered to turn all 
over to him, notwithstanding his uncle was a poor man. But the boy. although 
only eighteen years of age, declined the offer and the money with thanks. 

"When in his sixteenth year he went to Ridgeway, New York, to accept a 
clerkship in the store of another uncle at eight dollars per month and board. 
He was rapidly advanced in position and salary, becoming head clerk before 
he was nineteen. 

Early in August, 1862, Colonel Bogardus, having just attained his majority, 
enlisted for the war in Company A, One Hundred and Fifty-first New York 
Infantry. But before going to the field he was united in marriiage, on the 
17th of August, 1862, to Miss Hannah W., daughter of William H. Pells, both 
of whom are mentioned on other pages of this volume. On the organization of 
the company, August 13, 1862, Colonel Bogardus was elected first Lieutenant; 
was promoted to the rank of captain of Company I, December 12, 1862; to 
lieutenant colonel December 10, 1864; and was breveted colonel by order of the 
president of the United States "for gallant and meritorious services in the 
charge in front of Petersburg, Virginia, April 2, 1865." The letter from the 
governor of New York accompanying the commission states the reason for 
granting the commission and reads as follows: 

"Colonel, I have the pleasure to transmit herewith a brevet commission 




conferred by the president, in recognition of your faithful aiul distinguished 
services in the war. I feel a just pride in this acknowledgment of the gallantry 
and devotion of an officer of this state, which serves to heighten the reputation 
won by the valor and constancy of the soldiers of New York. 

Very truly yours, 

R. E. FENTON, Governor." 

Colonel Bogardus was twice wounded in the battle of ]\Ionocacy, IMaryland, 
July^ 1864, an engagement comparatively insignificant in itself but important 
in its results, about three thousand Union troops by the skillful management 
of General Lew Wallace, held in check nearly six times their number for 
twentj'-four hours, thus giving General Grant barely time to move the first and 
second divisions of the Sixth Army Corps from City Point, Virginia, to Wash- 
ington, arriving there just as the Confederate General Early appeared in front 
of the outer defenses of Washington. Had that heroic little band of boys in 
blue given way, the Capital City must have fallen a prey to the enemy. In the 
battle of the Wilderness the Sixth Corps to which Colonel Bogardus belonged, 
was on the extreme right and all remember what a desperate effort Lee made 
to crush that part of Grant's army; next followed in rapid succession the 
battles of Spottsylvania, Tolopotomy and Cold Harbor, (in the latter battle 
his regiment lost five captains and the young, then Captain Bogardus. came 
out of this battle acting as lieutenant colonel, all officers above him in rank but 
one having been shot,) ]\Iine Run, Petersburg, Sailors Creek, Appomatox, or 
Lee's surrender, and the other battles and skirmishes in which he was engaged 
will ever be remembered, as experiences in our subject's army life. 

When getting ready for the battle of Petersburg, the Colonel's orderly, 
Johnny Byron, packed one pocket of the colonel's overcoat, tightly with hard 
tack, when putting it on. discovering it. told the orderly to take them out. 
Byron begged him to leave them in saying it might be a long time before he 
could get anything else to eat. He was very fond of Byron and to please him 
let them remain. Later a confederate sharp-shooter's bullet was deflected b.y 
the hard-tack just enough to save his hip and perhaps his life, making a very 
severe bruise and lameness, but the hip was saved. 

At the battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864, Colonel Bogardus was so severely 
wounded that he could not endure to be transferred by and)ulance, hence was 
carried three miles on a stretcher to. the hospital at Frederick City, IMaryland. 
Had his injuries been less he Avould have been sent to Richmond or to Libby 
prison. Frederick City soon fell into the hands of the Tniou troops again, 
and he was transferred, about three months after, when able to travel, to the 
officers' hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where he regained his strength 
sufficiently to come home on crutches and cast his fii'st presidential vote for 
Lincoln. As soon as he could get about by the use of a cane he returned to his 
command and served until he was mustered out on the 26th of June, 1865. A 
striking illustration of the wonderful transforming poAver of ideas on the lives 
and actions of men is given in the case of Colonel Bogardus and his maternal 
grandfather. The latter owned and worked slaves in New York state before 




the}' were mauuinitted — the former risked his own life for their freedom, aud 
today the negro accounts the Colonel one of his warmest friends. In 1885 he 
was appointed colonel and aide-de-camp by Governor Oglesby, and was re- 
appointed in 1889 by Governor Fifer, holding the two positions eight years. 

When hostilities had ceased Colonel Bogardus returned to Ridgeway, New 
York, where he became a partner of his old emploj^er, A. V. Pells, (to whom 
he feels he owes much of his success,) in the mercantile business, continuing 
until failing health, the effect of his wound, compelled him to quit mercantile 
pursuits. In April, 1872, he became a resident of Paxton and has since been 
prominently identified with its best interests, as well as those of the surround- 
ing country. The varied and extensive business interests he successfully 
conducts prove him to be a man of broad comprehension and of fine executive 
ability. Besides doing a large real-estate and loan business he is extensively 
interested in stock-raising and farming, owning several thousand acres of 
valuable farming land in Illinois. He was president of the Ninth Congressional 
District Farmers' Institute from its organization. It grew to be one of the 
largest in the state. Democratic reapportionment destroyed it geographically, 
thus ending it after years of success. He was one of the organizers of the 
Paxton Brick & Tile Company, of which he was a director and part owner for 
twenty-one years, and was one of the incorporators of the Paxton Canning 
Company, another substantial concern. He sold his interest in both these 
companies some years ago. He was one of the incorporators and the first 
president of the Paxton Building, Loan and Savings Association and has been 
reelected twenty-five times, now serving his twenty-sixth year. 

Upon the death of ]\Irs. Bogardus' father, she and her brother inherited 
among other properties a large tract of timber land in northern Michigan, later 
on the death of her brother, November, 1899, his interests became hers also. 
In the spring of 1900, at her request, he went to ^lichigan to look over the 
properties for her, getting up from a sick bed to do so ; he spent the summer 
getting well and studying the properties and in the fall founded the first mill 
for the manufacture of shingles, next a sawmill, later a planing-mill, another 
sawmill, lath-mills were added, in the meantime he had located Tindle & 
Jackson, the largest manufacturers of slack cooperage, broom handles and 
hoops in the world. An extensive turning works was recently started, which 
Avith other matters has made Pellston jump from one child in the public school 
when he and his wife arrived there, and a population of three or four families, 
until today Pellston has a school census of three hundred aud eighty-seven, 
and a total population of between eighteen hundred and nineteen hundred. 
Has a village organization, fire department, system of water works, shade trees 
on each side of every street, fine park, and is already quite a pretentious young 
city, still rapidly growing, and has changed under his short administration 
from the smallest hamlet and postofifice to the second largest in the county. 

He is president of the Bogardus Land & Lumber Company, is interested 
in the Pellston Light & Power Company, in the Pellston Planing ]Mills and the 
Pellston Turning & Manufacturing Company. In all of his business interests 


he has been assisted b}- his estimable wife, a lady of good business ability and 
keen discrimination. Colonel Bogardus and his wife have donated fourteen 
hundred and forty-one acres to the University of ]\Iichigan for the purpose of 
establishing a summer school for the engineering department of that university. 
The land is valuable and the gift is one of the most generous ever made in that 
state. The regents have named it the "Bogardus Engineering Camp of the 
University of Michigan," in honor of the donors. 

In political affairs Colonel Bogardus has been a prominent and influencing 
factor. He has served two terms, 1884 to 1888, in the lower house of the state 
legislature, and at the close of his second term as representative, he was elected, 
in 1888, senator, was reelected to the senate in 1892 and again reelected in 
1896, from the eighteenth senatorial district, serving as a member of the 
legislature for sixteen consecutive years. In the fifteen county and senatorial 
conventions before which he was a candidate for nomination for House and 
Senate, he received a unanimous vote in each case. One of his important bills, 
and the first to l)ecome a law on the subject in Illinois, is that compelling 
instruction in the public schools, in physiology and hygiene, with reference to 
the effects of alcoholic beverages, stimulants and narcotics on the human 
system. Another bill worthy of mention is that regulating the weight of flour, 
compelling full weights under severe penalties. The indigent soldiers' bill, the 
bill establishing a State Board of Pardons, and the bill to promote the educa- 
tion of children to prevent truancy, are among the valuable laws that bear his 
name. In the thirty-fourth general assembly he was one of the republican 
members who in that memorable senatorial contest, Avhich lasted four months, 
succeeded in electing General John A. Logan to the senate of the United 
States. Subsequently the one hundred and three republicans who stood so 
firmly by the general, organized themselves into a society called the "Logan 
103," of which Colonel Bogardus was secretary and treasurer from its organi- 
zation until he declined to serve longer. In the thirty-fifth general assembly 
he was unanimously chosen chairman of the republican house caucus for the 
session. At each session he was appointed on some of the most important 
committees and held several important chairmanships. In 1895 he was chosen 
president pro teni ])y acclamation in the republican caucus — the highest place 
in the gift of the senate. In 1895, in the a])sence of the governor and lieutenant 
governor, he was constitutional governor of Illinois for some time. Strong 
and positive in his republicanism, his party fealty is not grounded on partisan 
prejudice, and he enjoys the respect and confidence of all his associates, 
irrespective of party. Of the great issues which divide the two parties, with 
their roots extending down to the very bed-rock of the foundation of the 
republic, he has the true statesman's grasp. Well grounded in the political 
maxims of the schools, he also studied the lessons of actual life, arriving at 
his conclusions as a icsult of what may be called his post-graduate studies in 
the school of affairs. Such men, whether in office or out, are the natural 
leaders of whichever party they may be identified with, especially in that 
movement toward higher politics which is common to l)()th parties and which 
constitutes the most hopeful political sign of the period. 


Colonel Bogardns has but one living child, Maria L., wife of Oscar R. 
Zipf, an attorney of Freeport, Illinois. He has four grandsons : Oscar Robert, 
Charles B., George K. and Theodore F. He lost his only son, Edgar A., in 
1889, aged fifteen and one half years. 

Our subject has also been interested in local politics, having for six 3'ears 
served as a member of the city council, and for nine years on the school board, 
of which he was president a part of that time. He was a trustee of Paxton 
Collegiate Institute for years. He maintains pleasant relations with his old 
army comrades, is a member of Paxton Post, No. 387, of which he was the 
first commander. He is likewise a member of Paxton Lodge, No. 416, A. F. & 
A. M., Ford Chapter, No. 113, R. A. M., Mount Olivet Commandery, No. 38, 
K. T., Gibson Council, No. 72, R. & S. I\r., and Patton Lodge, No. 498, K. P. 
He and his wife attend the Presbyterian church, to the support of which they 
contribute liberally, giving generously to all church and charitable interests, 
as did also the daughter, who is gratefully remembered at Paxton for her 
exemplary character, her interest in church work, and particularly her suc- 
cessful career as teacher and superintendent of the Presbyterian Sunday 
school when she was but a young miss herself. Her kindness of heart was well 
known among the less fortunate and their needs when known to her had quick 
attention, with always a wish on her part that only The Master, the recipients 
and herself should know. 

The terms, progress and patriotism, might be considered the keynote of 
Colonel Bogardus' character, for throughout his career he has labored for the 
improvement of every line of business or public interest with which he has 
been associated, and at all times has been actuated by a fidelity to his country 
and her welfare. The difficulties which he had to encounter in his own 
business career have made him ever ready to extend a helping hand to young 
men who are starting out in life without capital as he did, to whom his liusiness 
record should serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement. 


]\Irs. Charles Bogardus, nee Hannah W. Pells, only daughter of the late 
William H. Pells, one of the founders of Paxton, first saw Paxton in 1860, on 
a visit with her father and brother, little thinking it was destined to be her 
future home, where the greater part of her life would be spent. 

In April, 1872, she left her old home in Ridgeway, Orleans countj', New 
York, where she was born and married, and with her husband, Colonel Charles 
Bogardus, their little daughter and her father. Mr. Pells, came to Paxton, 
where a family home for them all was established. 

]\Irs. B., as she is familiarly called l)y many, is mucli like her father in 
disposition and Avays, inherits his business traits in a marked degree. She has 
always been the confidant of her husliand. who always counsels with her on 


propositions of any moment, and he says: "She never advised him wrong." 
Simple and domestic in her taste, her home is her earthly Heaven. 

Flowers are to her a great pleasure, and with the ample grounds of the 
home, she has gratified her taste with careful selections of choice kinds, among 
which were forty varieties of roses. 

^ Her large circle of friends is made up for their true worth wnthout a 
thought of wealth or social position. Many people of lowly station are among 
her most cherished friends, and b^^ whom she is greatly beloved. It is not 
strange that she is so w^ell beloved by all. Kind of heart and charitable, but 
ahvaj's wanting her charities unknown. A friend of education, for many years 
she and her husband kept a certain number of pupils in Rice Collegiate Insti- 
tute at their own expense; trjang to keep it secret, but the young people 
benefited told it, much to their regret. The writer learns that man}' young men 
and women had a helping hand from them. Some are teachers and others 
occupy business positions toda.y. 

Paxton was without a park and she gave a block of ground set to trees 
for that purpose. The public Avanted an addition to the park, again she 
responded W'ith a gift of more ground, wnth the only stipulation that the gifts 
should bear the name of "Pells Park," in honor of her father. 

The University of Michigan needed grounds for their engineering studies 
and other university work, and they had but a small appropriation for it. She 
and her husband talked the matter over with the university committee, learned 
their needs and together gave them a deed to one thousand, four hundred and 
forty-one acres, with three miles of lake frontage, Avorth about twelve times 
the amount of their appropriation as appraised by the committee representing 
the university. 

A good wife, best of mothers, a kind-hearted neighbor, most considerate 
of the welfare of her friends ; a noble woman, w^ell Avorthy to be the Avife of her 
distinguished husband AA^ho has been the recipient of high military and civil 
honors constantly since he attained his majority. 

We Avere told a little story bA' one of her intimate friends, in confidence, 
yet we are going to tell it, knoAving she AA^ould object, as it best illustrates her 
kindness of heart and consideration of the poor better than a A'olume could 
express it. Some years ago during the game season, her husband sent some 
quail to her, of Avhich she is A^ery fond. A fcAV moments after the quail had 
been received and put aAvay, a tramp came to the back door and asked for 
something to eat. Mrs. B. overheard him asking for some meat, saying he had 
not tasted meat for days. There happened to be none in the house. She at 
once invited him in, her cook being indisposed, she dressed the largest quail 
and cooked it Avith other things, giving him a breakfast that rarely falls to the 
lot of a tramp. The cook told of it, and her friends of course joked her; her 
reply. Avas that she only did her duty and Avould feed quail to one of God's 
unfortunates again if he seemed Avorthy. She said the thanks and look of 
thankfulness given her by the aged man and his words, as he raised his much 


"-■jli'^^' ^-^9^ 




worn cap, "Lady, tliat is the l)est meal I have eaten since I liad a home of my 
own," were worth many times the trouble of dressing and cooking the qnail 
and getting him a breakfast. No person was ever turned away hungry from 
her door. 

Mrs. Bogardus inherited from her father and brother large property 
interests in ]\Iichigan. Illinois, city of Paxton and elsewhere, in which she 
takes a keen interest. She and her husband spend much of their time at 
Pellston, the namesake of her father; her deep interest in the growth, and her 
constant thoughtfulness for the welfare of this youthful city, and the better- 
ment of its people have caused her to be called "The Mother of Pellston," 
and still her love for Paxton and Paxton interests and her people have never 

She has kept pace with her husband, in all his undertakings has been his 
faithful helpmate and most valued counselor. 

Wn ^« ^^V-^- ^ 

S. VV\ 


Tlie specific and distinctive office of biography is not to give voice to a mnji's 
modest estimate of himself and his accomplishments but rather to leave the per- 
petual record establishing his character by the concensus of opinion on the part 
of his fellowmen. Throughout Ford county Hon. John A. ]\Iontelius is spoken 
of in terms of admiration and respect. His life has been so varied in its activity, 
so honorable in its purposes, so far-reaching and beneficial in its effects that 
it has become an integral part of Piper City and has also left an impress upon 
the annals of the state. While in one sense he cannot be called a public man, al- 
beit he has held some political offices, he has nevertheless exerted an immeasure- 
able influence on the city of his residence ; in business life as a financier and 
promoter of extensive commercial and industrial enterprises ; in social circles by 
reason of a charming personality and unfeigned cordiality; in politics by reason 
of his public spirit and devotion to the general good as well as to liis compre- 
hensive understanding of any questions affecting state and national welfare ; 
and in those departments of activity which work for the bettterment of man- 
kind through his benevolence and his liberality. 

Mr. Montelius was born in Mififlinburg, Pennsylvania, May 29, 1844, and is 
a descendant of Frederick IMarcus Montelius, who started across the Atlantic in 
the winter of 1773, landing in Pliiladelphia, on the 25th of August. He carried 
on merchandising there for some time and afterward removed to ReamstoAvn, 
Pennsylvania, Avhere his death occurred. Johii IMontelius, his son, and the 
grandfather of John A. IMontelius, took up his abode in IMifflinburg, Pennsyl- 
vania, about 1800, and followed the trade of a tanner as a means of livelihood. 
He became one of the prominent and influential residents of his locality, which 


he represented in the state k^gishiture, uLsu serving as associate judge of the 

His family numbered six sons and six daughters, including Charles Monte- 
lius. who was hor-n in IMifflinburg in 1811. In early manhood he Icnrned the 
tanner's trade hut afterw^ard engaged in nu^rchandising. lu 18-'>7 lie wedded 
Rebecca Howard Piper, who died in 1866 and the following year Mr. Montelius 
came to Piper City and resided wnth his son. John A. They w^ere in business 
together through the succeeding six years, after which Charles ]\[ontelins re- 
tired. At his death in 1882 his remains were taken back to I'ennsylvania and 
laid by the side of his wife. His early political allegiance w^as given to the whig 
party and upon its dissolution he became a republican. A prominent member of 
the l^resbyterian church, he served as one of its elders for many years, and his 
life was ever upright and honorable. Of his family two children died in in- 
fancy. One son, William Piper, completed his literary education in Lafayette 
College and spent two years in Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny. 
He then became connected with the Christian Commission and in the fall of 
1864 was stationed at Huntsville, Alabama. He died June 15, 1865, at Mifflin- 
burg, Pennsylvania, from disease contracted in this service. Harry G. 
Montelius, the youngest brother of our subject, was born in Mifflinburg, Sep- 
tember 2, 1859, and died in California, February 18, 1899. 

At the usual age John A. IMontelius began his education as a pupil in the 
public schools of his native city and when he put aside his text-books in 1859 
he entered upon his l)usiness career as a salesman in a store in ]\Iilton, l*ennsyl- 
vania. Tie also spent one year in Lewisburg and in 1861 he enlisted at the 
first call for volunteers, going to Camp Curtain, at Harrisburg, Imt w^as 
rejected. He then reenlisted on the 17th of June, 1863, for one hundred days' 
service, becoming a member of Company D, Thirty-first Pennsylvania Infan- 
try, which time he spent at Cunil^erland, Maryland. He was discharged at 
Harrisburg, August 8, 1863, and on the 12th of July, 186-t, again joined the 
Union army, as a member of the First Battalion of Pennsylvania Infantry, 
with which he continued until honorably discharged on the 11th of November 
following. Thus before he allaiucd the age of twenty years he had three 
times enlisted for defense of the Union. 

Ill tile fall of 1865 Mr. Montelius further qualified For the busiiu^ss world 
as a student in Quaker City Business College of Philadeli)hia, and in the sum- 
mer of 186() he held a position in the Corn Exchange National Hatdc of 
Philadelphia. Thinking to find better business opportunities in the middle west 
he arrived in Piper City on the 14th of November, 1866, and has since been 
a resident of Ford county, where he has figured most prominently in business 
affairs. On the 6th of December he joined his uncle. Dr. Pipei". in whose 
honor I'iper C'ity was named, in the conduct of a general mercantile enter- 
prise. (Changes in the partnership from time to time induced the adoption 
of the firm style oT Piper, Montelius & Company, C. Montelius & Son and J. 
A. Montelius, for in later years Mr. Montelius became sole proprietor. He 


has figured prominently in the finaneial eircles of tlie city since 1867. He 
was originally connected with his father in banking and sold out to Campbell 
& Thompson, with the intention of devoting his time to his extensive landed 
interests. He organized the First National Bank of Piper City and from 
the beginning, April 14, 1900, has been its president. Previous to this he 
conducted the Piper City Bank, a private bank, which he bought of Durham 
Brothers in 1896. The National Bank is capitalized for fifty thousand dol- 
lars, and his son, Joseph K., is associated with him in this enterprise. 
The bank has become recognized as one of the strongest financial concerns of 
Ford county and this part of the state, having been established on a safe, 
conservative basis, while the policy maintained has always been such as to 
mei'it the unqualified confidence and trust of the public. 

Almost from the beginning of his residence here ]\Ir. JMontelius has like- 
wise been engaged in the grain trade. He is a man of resourceful ability, 
recognizing and utilizing opportunities that others pass by heedlessly. He 
owns two grain elevators in Piper City, the business being now conducted by 
his son, George D., under the firm name of George D. Montelius & Company. 
For forty years he has been associated with the grain trade and his operations 
in that line have brought him a gratifying financial return. From time to 
time ]\Ir. JMontelius has made very extensive investments in realty and is now 
the owner of over five thousand acres in Ford and Iroquois counties. He 
and his three sons are conducting their business interests under the same roof 
and the name of IMontelius is one of the strongest in trade and financial cir- 
cles in this part of the state. The youngest son, Jolm A., is conducting the 
implement business which was established by the father about three decades 
ago. At one time Mr. Montelius also conducted a branch agricultural imple- 
ment store at Kempton but has withdrawn from that field, since turning over 
this department of his business to his son. 

Not only in business lines but also in many other ways Mr. Montelius 
has been a most active and potent factor in the life of the city. In early 
manhood he served for a nundjer of terms as supervisor of Brenton townshi}) 
and was chairman of the board. In 1900 he was elected representative of his 
district in the general assembly ami his legislative course was so satisfactory 
to his constituents that he was reelected in 1902, serving in the forty-second 
and forty-third sessions of the house. In the latter he had the honor of 
introducing the local option bill, drawn by the Anti-Saloon League, of which 
he is a member. He also introduced amendments to the farm drainage law, 
which were of great benefit to this section of the state. He served on the 
revenue and banking committees and was chairman of the committc^e of Sol- 
diers and Sailors Home and the Orphans Home at Normal. He stood with 
thirty-nine Sherman men who went to defeat together. He lacked but a few 
votes of election to the speakership of the general assembly at the time when 
John H. IMiller was chosen. He is a warm personal as well as political friend 
of Shelby M. Cullom, and has a wide acquaintance and friendship among many 


of the distinguished political leaders of the state. In 1904 he was chosen 
the presidential elector and cast his ballot for Roosevelt. ]\Ir. Montelius has 
been a student of the problems which constitute political interest at the present 
day and of the great issues which divide the two parties with their roots 
extending down to the bedrock of the foundation of the republic, he has a true 
statesman's grasp. His ideas and labors concerning politics and those interests 
which are to be conserved through political labor have been at all times in- 
tensely practical. 

Mr. Montelius was married on the 8th of October. 1867, in Mifflinburg. 
Pennsylvania, to Miss Catherine Gast, a native of that city and a daughter of 
Henry and Mary Gast. They became the parents of six children : Charles 
Henry, Avho died in infancy ; the three sons mentioned above ; and ]\Iaggie and 
Mary Rebecca, the daughters of the family, at home. 

]Mr. Montelius is a member of the Grand Army post of Piper City, being 
one of its organizers and the only charter member now living, and he is prom- 
inent in the order in Illinois. He is an exemplary Mason, l)eing a charter 
member of Piper Lodge, No. 608, A. F. & A. M. ; Fairbury Chapter, No. 99, 
R. A. M. ; and St. Paul Commandery, No. 34, K. T. at Fairbury. He has 
also attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite in the Oriental con- 
sistory of Chicago. While his life has been a most busy one, his extensive 
business interests and political service making constant demands upon his time 
and attention, he has yet found opportunity to devote to the higher, holier 
duties of life, wliich many men neglect in the press and stress of business 
interests. For many years he has been an elder of the Presbyterian church 
and superintendent of the Sunday school, and his efforts in behalf of tin; 
church have been far-reaching and effective. 

His business career seems in a measure phenomenal when one recognizes 
the fact that while today he is one of the wealthiest men of Ford county he 
had a capital of only twelve hundred dollars when he arrived in Piper City 
and this had been saved from his earnings since the time when he started out 
in l)usiness life empty-handed. He has been generous of his means in sup- 
port of many valuable public measures. Regarded as a citizen and in liis 
social relations he l)elongs to that public-spirited, useful and helpful type of 
men whose ambitions and desires are centered and directed in those channels 
through which tlow the greatest and most permanent good to llie greatest 


Jonathan P. Middlecoff is a citizen to whom Paxton, in large measure, 
owes her commercial prosperity, material improvement and architectural 
adornment. Tlie history of Ford county would be very incomplete and unsat- 
isfactory without a personal and somewhat extended mention of him. He 
finds an appropriate place in the history of those men of business and enter- 




prise who have e.stul)lishecl aiul controlled large affairs and have brought to 
successful completion important schemes of trade and profit, thus contributing 
in an eminent degree to the development of tlie vast resources of the state. 
One of the prominent characteristics of his successful business career is that 
his vision has never been bounded by the exigencies of the moment but has 
covered as Avell the opportunities and possibilities of the future. This has 
led him into extensive undertakings bringing him into marked prominence in 
industrial, commercial and financial circles. 

JMr. jMiddlecoff is a native of Richmond, Indiana. l)orn on the 20th of 
February, 1838. The father, Daniel Middlecoff, was l:>orn in Maryland in 
1800 and in the same state, in 1809, occurred the birth of Theresa Newcomer, 
w^ho in early womanhood became his wife. On removing from Maryland in 
1827 thoy established their home at Richmond, Indiana, where they remained 
until 18-49. In that year they took up their abode in Cincinnati, Ohio, and for 
many years Daniel ]\Iiddlecoff was a prominent and successful wholesale 
grocery merchant there. In 1861 he settled in Patton township. Ford county, 
Illinois, where he resided until his death in 1866. His widow long survived 
him, passing away in 1898. 

When a lad of eleven years Jonathan P. Middlecoff became a pupil in the 
public schools of Cincinnati and later continued his education in St. John's 
College and in the Farmers College of Ohio. In 1857 he came to Illinois and 
entered business life in this state as a merchant of Ludlow, Champaign county, 
where he remained until 1862. In that year he removed to a farm in Ford 
county and Avas actively identified with agricultural pursuits until 1867, w^hen 
he became a hardware merchant of Paxton, continuing the business with 
success for several years. Constantly watchful of opportunities for the 
extension of his business, in 1881 he became associated with C. Bogardus, P. 
Whitmer and F. L. Cook in the manufacture of drain tile and brick under the 
firm name of the Paxton Brick & Tile Company. Mr. Middlecoff' w^as chosen 
president and general manager and from the beginning the enterprise proved 
a success. The trade steadily increased, his capable control being manifest in 
a growing patronage that rendered this a most profitable investment. Mr. 
Middlecoff continued at the head of the business until 1902. 

In the meantime, in 1888, he assisted in organizing the Paxton Canning 
Company, of which he was also chosen president and general manager. The 
same spirit of enterprise Avas ])rought to bear in its control and thus the suc- 
cess was assured from the start. In all of his business interests Mr. Middle- 
coff has been watchful of every detail, has been energetic, prompt and notably 
reliable and in the execution of well defined plans and purposes has met with 
success. From time to time he has made judicious investments in property 
and now has extensive real-estate holdings, including valuable farms and much 
city reality. In 1896 he was the organizer of the hotel company which erected 
the present magnificent hotel at Paxton, a building which would be a credit to 
a city of much larger size. He was elected president of the company and 


after the completion of the structure the hotel was named the Middlecotf in 
his honor. It is l)ut one of many evidences of his pu])lic-spirited interest in 
Paxton. Although he spends but four or five months of each year here he 
loves his home city as a father loves his child and does much to further its 
interests and promote its progress. 

The marriage of J. P. Middlecoff and Miss IMary F. Fox was celebrated 
in Cincinnati, Ohio, in January. 1864. IMrs. Middlecoff was reared and edu- 
cated in that city and was a daughter of Richard Fox, the original starch 
manufacturer. They became the parents of three children but Alice, the 
eldest, died at tlu' age of sixteen months, Samu(>l at the age of twenty-two 
months and Addie in early womanhood, March 9, 1891. Recently Mr. IMiddle- 
coff has erected in Paxton a colonial mansion, the finest residence of the city, 
and also maintains a home in St. Augustine, Florida, where he spends the 
winter months. 

Not alone in l)usiness affairs but through other avenues of activity has 
]Mr. Middlecoff contributed to public progress. He was for some years recog- 
nized as one of the republican leaders of central Illinois, and was a delegate 
to the national republican convention held in Philadelphia in 1900. He was 
first called to office in 1866 as supervisor of Patton township. He served also 
in the following year and was again elected in 1872, 1877 and 1878. During 
the last two years he was chairman of the county board and in the adminis- 
tration of public affairs brought to bear the same executive force and keen 
discrimination that have ever characterized him in his business life. That 
the public regarded him worthy of higher political honors was indicated by 
their election of him as their representative in the twenty-eighth general as- 
sembly. As a member of the house he served on the committees on public 
buildings and grounds, on corporations and on county and township organi- 
zations. He proved an active worker in the committee room and on all 
occasions gave earnest consideration to every ([uestion which came up for 
settlement. Four times he served as nuiyor of Paxton and as its chief execu- 
tive promoted reform, progress and improvement along various lines, 
holding high the standard of municipal honor and exercising his official pre- 
rogatives in support of those interests and movements Avhich were a matter of 
civic virtue and civic pride. During his second term as mayor the water- 
works were put in operation and during his fourth term the city hall was 
erected. 'I'll is fine structure and ornament to Paxton owes its existence in no 
small degree to Mr. Middlecoff, who advocated a l)uilding that would be a 
credit to the city. 

In Masonry ]Mr. Middlecoff has attained high rank. He belongs to Orien- 
tal Consistory, S. P. R. S., of Chicago, and to Morocco Temple of the Mystic 
Shrine in Jacksonville, Floi-ida. Both he and his wife are active members of 
the Methodist Episcopal chiii-ch of Paxton and he has been leader of the choir 
for thirty-five years. His life has been an open scroll inviting the closest 
scrutiny. His achievements represent the result of honest endeavor along 


lines where mature judgment has pointed the way. He possesses a weight of 
character and native sagacity, a discriminating mind and the fidelity to princi- 
ples that command the respect of all. There is perhaps no other one citizen 
who has done for Paxton what Jonathan P. iMiddlecoff has accomplished for 
the citv. 


During the entire period of his manhood Robert A. ]\IcCracken has been 
connected prominently' with business interests in Paxton and Ford county and 
his name has long been an honored one on commercial paper. While he pre 
pared for and was admitted to the bar, he has largely retired from active 
practice but his knowledge of the law proves of much value to him in the con- 
duct of his private business interests. He is president of the Kankakee City 
Electric Railway and has extensive investments, while at the same time he h i^ 
the care of his father's estate, his mother, ]\Irs. E. C. ]\IcCracken being execu- 
trix. The estate embraces forty-six hundred and fifty acres of Illinois land. 

A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. IMcCracken was born in Lawrence county, 
November 19, 1854, a son of the Rev. Robert IMcCracken, of whom mention is 
made elsewhere in this volume. He was but seven years of age when he 
accompanied his parents on their removal to Ford county and here the days of 
his boyhood were passed, his education being acquired in the public schools of 
Paxton. In 1871 he removed to Hoopeston with his father who was engaged ui 
merchandising there until 1876, when the family returned to Paxton. He then 
became associated with his father in buying and selling real estate and from 
that time to the present has been more or less actively associated with the pur- 
chase and sale of farm and city property. Some time after his return to Paxton 
he took up the study of law in the office and under the direction of the law firm 
of Cook & I\Ioffett. In 1888 he passed the examination which secured his 
admission to the bar and entered upon the practice of his profession. Although 
he does not now engage in practice his knowledge of the law is of inestimable 
value to him in the control of his property interests. In August, 1905, in com- 
pany with three others, he purchased the Kankakee City Electric Railway and 
on the election of officers was chosen president, with E. E. Rollins as vice presi- 
dent and E. D. Risser as secretary and treasurer. These offices they still hold 
and are thus becoming actively associated Avith the great system of interurban 
railways, which have been so important a factor in the development of the 
state. He is widely known as a man of sound business judgment and of unfalt- 
ering enterprise, also notably prompt and reliable, having gained an unassail- 
able reputation for business integrity. 

On the 8th of October, 1889, Mr. IMcCracken was married to Miss Luella B. 
Kemp, a daughter of Nicholas and Catherine S. (Axline) Kemp, who came to 
Ford county, Illinois, Avith her parents from Wenona, Marshall county, this 


state, in 3875, the family home being established on a farm of three hundred 
and twenty acres three miles west of Paxton. Unto Mr. and ]\Irs. McCracken 
have been born three children : Howard Orr, Ruth A. and Wendell Kemp, 
the first two being high school students. 

Mr. McCracken and his family are active members of the First IMethodist 
Episcopal church of Paxton and are interested in all that pertains to the pro- 
gress and development of the city. His political allegiance is given to the 
republican party and although not an aspirant for office he is in this regard, as 
in every other relation of life, a stalwart champion of the principles in which he 
believes. He is never neglectful of the duties of citizenship nor forgetful of his 
obligations to his fellowmen. His deep interest in children is indicated by his 
authorship of a child's story book, which was published in 1901 under the title 
of "Hidalgo and Home Life at West Lawn," the preface being written by Miss 
Lida B. McMurray, of the State Normal School of De Kalb. This volume was 
well received by the press and public, the first edition having already been ex- 
hausted. The family home at the corner of West Center and Elm streets is 
among the finest of Paxton 's residences and here Mr. McCracken 's many 
friends know him as a genial, hospitable host. He has a wide accpiaintance in 
Ford county, where almost his entire life has been passed, is popular Avith all 
classes and without invidious distinction may be termed one of the county's 
most honored and representative citizens. 


Oscar Henry Damon is a retired merchant of Gibson City, enjoying in well 
earned rest the fruits of his former toil. He was born in Hanover, New Hamp- 
shire, May 24, 1835, his parents being Ebenezer and Chloe A. (Lawrence) 
Damon, the latter a daughter of Joseph Lawrence. The father was born 
November 1, 1812, and was a builder in Lawrence, IMassachusetts, whence he 
removed to Rutland, La Salle county, Illinois. The family was founded in 
America by Deacon John Damon, who arrived in Reading, Massachusetts, in 
1630 and was a selectman there. He made his home in that place until his 
death, which occurred in 1708. His descendants are now widely scattered but 
representatives of the family have always remained residents of New England. 
Ebenezer Damon, on removing westward, established his home in LaSalle 
county, where he continued his residence up to the time of his demise in 1870. 
His widow, long surviving him, died in 1890 at Gibson City. 

Oscar H. Damon, one of a family of six children, acquired a common-school 
education in Lyndon, Vermont, and in Lawrence, ^Massachusetts. After putting 
aside his text-books he was employed in a store and factory until twenty years 
of age, when he started in business on his own account, removing westward to 
Rutland, La Salle county. He there opened a dry-goods store in connection 
with his brother and was thus engaged until 1861, when he put aside business 



and personal considerations to espouse the cause of the Union in the Civil Avar. 
He enlisted in Battery K, Second Illinois Light Artillery, and participated in 
many battles which led np to the final triumph of the Union army, remaining at 
the front until nuistered out in 1864 because of physical disability. He relates 
many interesting incidents of military life and is a worthy veteran, whose 
loyalty to his duty was never questioned on the field of battle. 

After being mustered out, INIr. Damon served as clerk of the Freedman's 
bureau at Natchez, ]\Iississippi, and following his return to the north was post- 
master of Rutland, La Salle county. He afterward opened a drug store at 
Coaticook, in the province of Quebec, Canada, where he remained in business 
for nine years. He afterward went to Olympia, Washington, where he con- 
tinued for a year and a half and later went to California and to Chicago. On 
the 1st of IMay, 1878, he arrived in Gibson City. Soon afterward he purchased 
five hundred acres of land, for which he paid thirty dollars per acre and which 
is today worth one hundred and seventy-five dollars per acre owing to the 
splendid improvements he has placed upon it and the natural rise in value 
consequent to the settlement of the state. His property is divided into three 
farms, comprising five hundred seventeen and a half acres in Dix and Drummer 
townships, and he also owns a half section of land in Pike county, Illinois, and 
section and a half in North Dakota. From his property interests he derives an 
excellent income, which amply supplies him with all of the comforts and some of 
the luxuries of life. He continued actively in his farming operations for a 
number of years and still gives personal supervision to his invested interests. 
He owns one of the finest residences in Gibson City, erected in 1906. 

On the 19th of May, 1878, IMr. Damon was married to Mrs. Margaret A. 
Lott, the widow of J. B. Lott, who owned all the land where Gibson City is now 
located. Both Mr. and Mrs. Damon have an extensive acquaintance in the 
county and occupy a very prominent position in social circles, being people of 
many friends. He holds membership in the Presbyterian church, while his wife 
is a member of the Christian church. ]\Ir. Damon is serving as one of the 
elders and treasurer of his church and also a teacher in the Sunday school. He 
was chairman of the building committee at the time of the erection of the new 
house of worship and has taken a most active and helpful interest in all depart- 
ments of the church work. He was also secretary of the County Sunday School 
Association and does all in his power to promote moral training of the young 
recognizing the fact that the early teachings are seldom forgotten, but leave an 
indelible impress upon the young lives. His political allegiance is given the 
republican party and he is recognized as one of its local leaders. He served as 


town clerk for three years, was president of the village board, and has twice 
served as mayor of the city. His official duties have ever been discharged with 
promptness and fidelity, winning him high encomiums and the unqualified trust 
of his fellowmen. He belongs to Lott Post, G. A. R., and manifests the same 
loyalty to liis country in days of peace that he displayed when upon southern 
battlefields he followed the old flag to victory. His influence is always given on 
the side of right, progress and improvement and his labors have been an element 
not onl}^ in the material development, but in the political and moral progress of 
the community. 


Thomas J. IMcDermott, who owns and operates three hundred and twenty 
acres of rich and productive land on section 16, Mona township, was born in 
Peoria county, Illinois, October 18, 1858, his parents being James and Mary 
(Slaven) IMcDermott, who w^ere both natives of Ireland. They emigrated to 
America in the early '40s, locating in Peoria county, Illinois, when the city of 
that name was only a very small river town, and there the father followed farm- 
ing for many years, being closely connected with the pioneer development of that 
part of the state. Unto Mr. and Mrs. James ]\IcDermott were born eight 
children, as follows: Mary J., the wife of Peter Burns, of Peoria county; Henry 
who resides in Cullom, Livingston county, Illinois; James, who makes his home 
in Chicago ; Thomas J., of this review ; Carolina, who became the wife of Thomas 
Foulton and resides in Cullom ; Susanna, who is the wife of James Carl, of 
Peoria county; and Stephen and Matthew, both of whom make their home in 
Peoria county. 

Thomas J. INIcDermott acquired his education in the common schools and 
remained with his father on the home farm until he had attained his majority, 
early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the 
agriculturist. On leaving the parental roof he took up liis abode on a rented 
farm near Piper City and operated the place for one year. On the expiration 
of that period he came to Mona township, where he again operated a rented farm 
for two years and then purcthased eighty acres of land on section 16, Avhere he 
now resides. As llie years passed he brought the land under a high state of 
cultivation and added many modern improvements to the farm, having also 
extended the boundaries of his place until it now comprises three hundred and 


twenty acres of fine farming land. He is widely known as one of the representa- 
tive and enterprising agriculturists of the county and in addition to the work of 
general farming he makes a specialty of raising full blooded Hereford cattle, 
both branches of his business returning to him a gratifying annual income. 

In 1881 Mr. McDermott was united in marriage to IMiss Elizabeth IMullaly, 
a daughter of James and Margaret Mullaly, both natives of Ireland, who crossed 
the Atlantic to America at an early day. They became the parents of ten 
children, as follows : John ; James ; William, deceased ; Mary Jane, deceased ; 
Frank ; Mrs. McDermott ; Anna, who makes her home in New Jersey ; Charles ; 
Thomas; and Ella. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McDermott have also been born ten 
children : Thomas E, deceased ; Margaret, the wife of Albert Hartquest, of 
Chatsworth, Illinois; James E., at home; Mary E., deceased; Susanna, Charles 
E., Carrie M., Jane E., Thomas "W., and Orville M. 

Both ]\Ir. and Mrs. McDermott are communicants of the Catholic church 
and in his political views our subject is a democrat. He has never sought or 
desired office, however, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business 
affairs, in which he has met with a large measure of prosperity. He has been 
identified with the agricultural development of this state from his earliest youth, 
for he aided in the cultivation of his father 's farm in Peoria county and for more 
than a quarter of a century has carried on farming on his own account in Ford 
county, having seen the district transformed from a wild, uncultivated region 
into -one of the richest agricultural states of the Union. Moreover, the success 
which has come to him is due entirelj^ to his own well directed labor and enter- 
prise, for he started out in life empty-handed and has steadily worked his way 
upward until he is now numbered among the substantial citizens of the county. 


John F. Schumacher, well known in financial circles in Ford county as 
cashier of the Bank of Cabery, his native town, was born on the 4th of Jan- 
uary, 1879. His parents were John and Anna (Trush) Schumacher, both 
natives of Germany. Mrs. Schumacher arrived in America about thirty-five 
years ago, some years later than her future husband, and they were married 
in Chicago. Subsequently they took up their abode in Cabery on the Kanka- 
kee county side and there the death of Mr. Schumacher occurred on the 15th 
of August, 1899, when he was fifty-five years of age. The mother still resides 


here. In their family were seven chihlren : Elizabeth, now a resident of 
Chicago; ^I. W., of Cabery; John F., of this review; P. J.; Mary; Anna; and 

At the usual age John F. Sehumaeher became a pupil in the public 
schools, wherein he pursued his studies to the age of seventeen years, after 
which he attended the Northern Illinois Normal School at Dixon, Illinois, and 
further qualified for the practical and responsible duties of life as a student 
in the Gem City Business College, at Quincy, Illinois, from which he was grad- 
uated in the fall of 1898. On the 5th of April of the following year he 
entered the bank as bookkeeper and assistant cashier and made it his purpose 
to thoroughly acquaint himself with the business and to master every task 
assigned him. In IMarch, 1907, he was given full charge of the Bank of 
Cabery and as cashier is managing its interests. His labors have contributed 
in substantial 2ueasure to its success and in its conduct he follows a safe, con- 
servative policy. He is also manager of a grain and implement business for 
the firm of Porch & Adams, and is regarded as a young man of excellent busi- 
ness ability and executive force, of keen discernment and unfaltering 

In his political views Mr. Schumacher is a stalwart republican and is 
prominent locally. He has served as township clerk, as commissioner of high- 
ways, as township treasurer and as village treasurer, and his duties have ever 
been discharged with promptness and fidelity. His religious faith is that of 
the Catholic church, and fraternally he is connected Avith the Knights of 
Columbus at Kankakee, while in Cabery he is clerk of the IModern Woodmen 
camp. In this part of the county he is well known, having ahvays resided 
here, and is a young man of many friends. 


Thomas Kewley, who is extensively and successfully identified with the 
agricultural interests of Ford county, being the owner of three hundred and 
eighty-two acres of fine farming land in ]\Iona township, was born on the Isle 
of Man on the 12th of August, 1849, his parents being Thomas and Katherine 
(JMcQuade) Kewley. The father emigrated to America in 1854, locating in 
New York, and three years later his wife and family joined him there. They 
remained in the Empire state until 1861, which year witnessed their arrival 




in Henry county, Illinois, where the father operated a tract of rented land for 
ten years. On the expiration of that period they came to Mona township, 
Ford county, purchasing- land on section 16. Here the parents remained until 
called to their final rest, the mother passing away in 1890, while Mr. Kewley 
survived until the 23d of August, 1902. They were among the early pioneer 
settlers of this portion of the state, establishing a home on the frontier and 
aiding in the cultivation and development of hitherto wild laud. They had 
but two children, our subject being now the only survivor of the family. 

Thomas Kewley was but eight years of age when he accompanied his mother 
on her emigration to America, and remained under the parental roof until 
he had attained his majority, assisting his father in the labors of the home farm 
during the summer months and attending school in the winter seasons. On 
reaching man's estate he started out in business life on his own account by 
renting a tract of land, which he operated successfully and energetically for 
sixteen years. With the capital he had acquired during this period he then 
purchased eighty acres on section 18, Mona township, w^liere he has since made 
his home. As the years have passed he has made many substantial improve- 
ments on the place and, owing to the prosperity which has attended his farm- 
ing interests, has been enabled to purchase more land from time to time until 
he now owns three hundred and eighty-two acres in Mona township, while he 
also has three hundred and twenty acres in South Dakota. His landed hold- 
ings are thus quite extensive and he is widely recognized as one of the pros- 
perous and influential agriculturists of the county. 

In 1874 Mr. Kewley was joined in wedlock to ]\Iiss Mary Tredenick, who 
was born in Grundy county, Illinois, in 1857. Her parents, who were natives 
of England, went to Canada in 1854, later establishing their home in Grundy 
county, Illinois, where the father followed farming for a few years. They 
then came to Ford county, where both the father and mother passed away. 
They were the parents of four children, namely : John, deceased ; ]\Irs. Kew- 
le}^; Charles, who resides in CuUom, Illinois; and William, deceased. Unto 
our subject and his w^fe have been l)orn six children, as follows : I\Iinnie L., 
who has passed aw^ay; Charles E., at home; Jennie A., who became the wife 
of Charles Thorn and makes her home in Cullom ; Katie M., the wife of A. 
D. Layman, a farmer of Livingston county ; and Frank II. and Bernie N., 
both at home. 

In his political views Mr. Kewley is a republican and is ({uite prominent 
in the local ranks of his party. He is now serving as school trustee and also 
as supervisor of Mona township, having held the latter office for six years. 


Pie lias likewise acted as seliool director for fifteen years, the cause of educa- 
tion ever finding in him a warm and helpful friend. Fraternally he is connected 
with the Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 680, and Camp No. 1886, of the Wood- 
men, both of Cullom, while both he and his wife are members of Rebekah 
lodge, No. 656, at Cullom. Their religious faith is indicated l)y their member- 
ship in the Methodist Episcopal church and they are widely and favorably 
known for their many excellent traits of character and upright lives. For 
twenty-two years Mr. Kevvley has been an important factor in the agricultural 
development of Ford county and his prosperity is well deserved, as in him 
are embraced the characteristics of an unbending integrity, unabating energy 
and industry that never flags. He is public-spirited, giving his cooperation to 
every movement which tends to promote the moral, intellectual and material 
welfare of the community. 


The spirit of self-help is the source of all genuine worth in the individual. 
It is the man who comes to recognize his own powers and his own limitations 
and who understands the possibilities that are open in the business world that 
makes orderly progression along the paths of success. Such a man is John 
lehl, now successfully conducting a banking business in Melvin and also deriv- 
ing a gratifying income from valuable farming property. 

He was born in Baldenheim in the province of Alsace, then a part of 
France but now of Germany. His natal day was January 13, 1839, and he 
was the second in the family of three children whose parents were John and 
Barbara (lehl) lehl, who though of the same name were not relatives. They, 
too, were natives of Baldenheim, the father born in May, 1809, and tlie mother 
in April of the same year. They continued residents of Germany until 1850. 
when, hoping to enjoy better business opportnnittes in the new world, the 
father brought his family to America and established his home in Deerfield 
township. Lake county, Illinois, where for some years he carried on a farm, 
there residing luitil 1888, when he removed to Northfield township, Cook 
county, Illinois. The mother died in Deerfield township, Lake county, in 
April, 1852, at the age of forty-three years and the father long survived, passing 
away April 27, 1894. Of Iheir children Barbara, the eldest, who was born 
March 17, 1836, is now the widow of Phillip Laesser and resides in North- 


field, Cook county. The younger daugliter, Salome, born July 28, 1842, is 
tlie widow of David Horenberger and a resident of Deerfield, Lake county. 

John lelil, the only son, remained a resident of his native province to the 
age of eleven years, when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to 
the new world. They sailed from Havre to New York and reached Chicago 
twenty-one days after their embarkation. The voyage across the Atlantic was 
a short one for a sailing ship. As stated, the family home was established 
upon a farm in Lake count}^ Illinois, and there John lehl remained with his 
parents until 1860, being trained to the work of the home farm, while as 
opportunity offered he also continued his education, begun in the schools of 
his native country, in the public schools near his father's home. When he 
had reached adult age he started out in life on his own account, working as 
a farm hand until his labor had brought him sufficient capital to enable him 
to engage in business for himself. He was employed at farm labor in JMarsliall 
county until 1868 and was in the employ of one man for seven years. 

In 1868 he removed to Ford county, settling in Peach Orchard township 
before the railroad was built or the town of Melvin founded. He purchased 
one hundred and sixty acres of land, constituting the northwest quarter of 
section 28, and is still the owner of that property, on which he continuously 
made his home until 1874, when he rented his farm and engaged in the grain 
business in Melvin in partnership with William Frasius and George T. Arends 
under the firm style of Frasius, lehl & Company. They dealt in grain, seeds 
and coal, conducting a successful business until 1876, when the senior part- 
ner sold out. The firm name of lehl & Company was then adopted and the 
business was thus carried on until 1890, when they withdrew from the grain 
trade and established the private banking business that has since been con- 
ducted at Melvin, under the name of lehl & Company. Both partners are 
active in the management of the bank, which has long been recognized as a 
substantial moneyed institution, having back of it valuable collateral in the 
shape of fine farming property. In 1899 they built an attractive brick bank 
building, which is an important addition to the business houses of Melvin. 
As Mr. lehl has prospered in his undertakings he has from time to time 
invested in land until he is now the owner of seven hundred and twenty 
acres, all in Ford county. It is very rich and productive and returns to 
him a gratif^'ing income. 

On the 3d of June, 1871, ]\Ir. lehl was married to Miss Mary Arends, 
who was born in Groveland, Tazewell county, Illinois, November 5, 1853, and 
came to Ford county in January, 1870, with her parents, Teis and Teda 


(Becker) Arends. She is also a sister of her Inisband's partner. Unto INIr. 
and ]\Irs. lehl have Ix'cn Ijorn live children. Hannah is the wife of ]\I. T>. 
Townsend, a farmer of Peach Orchard township, living about a mile south of 
IMelvin. and they have three children : Glenn I., IMary and John T. George 
T., who is employed in the bank in Melvin, married Bertha Shilts and they 
have three children, Ethel, Margaret and Clara. Clara j\I. is the wife of F. 
G. Ruff, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and has a daughter, Helen. Edwin A. 
is a student in the State University at Champaign. Walter C. is attending 
school in Melvin. 

In pc^lities i\Ir. lehl has been a stalwart republican since casting his first 
presidential vote for Lincoln in 1864. He has the notable and creditable 
record of serving as supervisor of Peach Orchard township for twenty-two 
years, having been a member of the board longer than any other supervisor 
during the history of the township. He w'as also village trustee for six years 
and in discharging his official duties is prompt, energetic and loyal, doing 
everything in his power to promote the public service. He attends the Ger- 
man Methodist Episcopal church and is a man whom to know is to respect and 
honor. His life proves conclusively that difficulties luay be overcome by deter- 
mined purpose and that the individual may secure success if he has but the will 
to dare and to do. II is methods have ever been such as will bear close 
scrutiny and no higher testimonial of his worth as a business man and citizen 
can be given than is manifest in the genuine respect which his fellow towns- 
men and all who know him entertain for him. 


It seems that nature purposes that man shall enjoy a period of rest in the 
evening of his days. In the morning of his life he is full of energy, hope and 
courage; at life's noontide his labors are guided by the sound judgment that has 
come to him through observation and experience and if he persists in the pursuit 
of an honorable purpose he can win the success tliat will enal)lc him to spend 
the evening of life without recourse to further labor. Such has been the record 
of John II. Einmiiiger, of Gibson City, now a rdircd lailor chTiving his income 
largely from invest meiils in land. He was born in the southern part of 
Germany, July 14. ls;51, and liis father, who was a linen weaver, and his mother 
l)oth died in that part of the country. 


Mr. Emminger eontinnod there until twenty years of age, when he left liis 
native land, sailing on the 14th of March, 1853, for the United States. The 
voyage was made in one of the old-time sailing vessels and after forty-two days 
spent on the Atlantic he reached New York city on the 26th of April. On that 
day the Odd Fellows were having a big celebration and parade and Mr. 
Emminger thought it the grandest sight he had ever witnessed in all his life. 
The city in its gala day decorations made a great impression upon him and from 
that time America has had a stronghold upon his atfections and loyalty. In his 
native country Mr. Emminger had learned and followed the tailor's trade and 
was again employed in that way in New York city until the fall of 1853, when 
he made his way westward to Chicago and Milwaukee. Later he took up his 
abode in La Salle, Illinois, where he served as foreman in a tailor establishment 
until 1861. On the 9th of June of that year he removed to Davenport, Iowa, 
where he remained for four and a half years, or through the period of the Civil 
war, acting as foreman in a tailor shop there. Subsequently he spent two and 
a half years in Keokuk, Iowa, and in 1867 returned to La Salle, Illinois, where 
he resided until 1870, when he opened up a shop of his own in Wenona, Illinois, 
where he remained for four and a half years. He next located at Pontiac, 
Illinois, where he conducted business on his own account for ten and a half 
years, and then came to Gibson City where he also conducted a successful 
tailoring business for some time. He is now retired, however, and depends 
upon his income from his property to supply him with the necessities and com- 
forts of life. He is the owner of two hundred acres of land in Drummer 
township and also had one hundred and sixty acres in McLean county, which he 
gave to his children. In Kansas he has invested in property, having one hundred 
and sixty acres in Brown county. He also owns a good residence in Gibson City 
and a store building, which is now rented for a meat market. 

In 1854 Mr. Emminger was married to ]\Iiss Mary C. Riegs, who was born 
in Pennsylvania in 1831, a daughter of George and Sophia (Kugler) Riegs, the 
father, a truck farmer near La Salle, Illinois, where he located in 1854 and where 
he resided until his death. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Emminger were born four sons 
and four daughters, of whom two sons and two daughters are now living, and 
they have twelve grandchildren. Their son Albert lives upon the father's farm 
two miles southwest of Gibson City. , , 

Mr. Emminger is a member of the Masonic fraternity, joining the lodge at 
La Salle, Illinois, in 1867, while since 1858 he has been a member of the Odd 
Fellows Lodge at La Salle. His political allegiance has been given to the re- 
publican party since he became a naturalized American citizen. There is no 


native son of the United States more loyal to her welfare and her interests, for 
he has enjoyed her protection and has found here the opportunities for the at- 
tainment of success. When he arrived in America he had but twent^^-five cents, 
but gradually he has worked his way up\vard and his diligence and persever- 
ance have brought him a goodly measure of prosperity and at the same time 
the methods which he has followed in the business world have made his an 
honored name. 


John MeKinney, senior partner of the John IMcKinney & Son Company, 
has been engaged in the lumber trade in Piper City for more than a half cen- 
tury and has carried on business on his own account since 1859. In his under- 
takings he has prospered by reason of his intelligent and well directed effort, 
his unremitting industry and perseverance, being now one of the substantial 
residents of Ford county. He was born near Belfast in Cookstown, Ireland, 
in 1833, his parents being Archibald and Elizabeth (MeKinney) MeKinney, 
wlio, though of the same name, were not relatives. With their family they 
came to America in 1847 and resided in Philadelphia until 1857, when they 
came to Ford county. There the father carried on agricultural pursuits until 
1888, when ^vith his wife he removed to Piper City, where they lived until 
called to their final rest. The father reached the advanced age of ninety-three 
years, while the mother was eighty-two years of age at the time of her death 
and during the last fifteen years of her life was blind. In their family were 
five children, of whom John is the eldest. Rachel is the widow of Captain 
Perry of Philadelphia, and has one son, Joseph. JMrs. JMargaret IMcLaugh- 
lin, a widow, is living in Piper City with her sister, INIrs. Perry. AVilliam 
died in 1880, and Joseph in 1883. 

John MeKinney spent the first twelve years of his life in the land of his 
nativity and then crossed the Atlantic to Philadelphia with his mother, three 
brothers and two sisters. In this land they joined the father, who had pre- 
ceded them to the new world. The voyage was made in 1847 as passengers 
on a sailing ship which was six weeks in covering the distance between the 
European and the American harbors. On the trip over a brother and sister 
died, the sister being buried at sea and the brother on Staten Island. The 
family lost all their baggage after reaching New York. John MeKinney 
remained in Philadelphia for about ten years and for two or three years spent 



a part of the time iu school. Duriug the period of his residence in Phikdel- 
phia he served a five years' apprenticeship to the- carpenter's trade, becoming 
an expert workman during that period. In 1856 he made his way westward 
to Chicago with his father and later both came to Ford county and purchased 
a tract of land three miles south and a half mile west of what is now Piper 
City. For three years after arriving in Ford county John IMcKinney worked 
at his trade in Chicago and on the road for the Illinois Central Railroad Com- 
pany. He then began to build houses for the first settlers at Piper City and 
this viciuit}', for it was during the period of pioneer development here and it 
was necessary that the early inhabitants should build homes for themselves. 
Mr. IMcKinney was thus employed at contracting and building until I860, 
when he took the management of a lumberyard for the firm of Piper & Montel- 
ius. He continued in business in that way until the fall of 1869, when he 
bought out his employers and has since continued in the lumber trade without 
intermission. This is the only lumberyard in the city and the business has 
grown to extensive and profitable proportions. In 1872 he further extended 
the scope of his trade by establishing a hardware department, while later he 
opened a furniture and undertaking establishment, thus his business growing 
in volume and importance until it has long since been considered one of the 
leading commercial industries of the village. In 1870 Mr. McKinney admitted 
his brother William to a partnership under the firm style of John i\IcKinney 
& Brother, a relation that was maintained until the death of the junior part- 
ner in 1880. Mr. IMcKinney was afterward alone in buisness for thirteen 
years, when he admitted his son, AV. 0. McKinney, under the firm name of John 
McKinney & Son. Later they organized a stock company, holding all of the 
stock themselves with the exception of about three thousand dollars, to which 
extent II. G. Flessner is interested. The business is now carried on under 
the firm style of the John IMcKinney & Son Company. The son and ]Mr. 
Flessner have active management of the business, while the father gives his 
attention largely to the management of his real-estate interests. They also 
have a branch store and lumberyard at La Hogue, where they have operated 
for seven or eight years. 

In 1865 Mr. IMcKinney was married to IMiss Fredericka Walrich, who was 
born in Germany in 1846 and came to Illinois with her parents about 1857. 
She is a daughter of Otto and IMargaret (Hempken) Walrich and by her mar- 
riage has become the mother of six children : Elizabeth, the wife of Rev. A. 
S. Hoskins, a minister of the IMethodist Episcopal church in Chicago for the 
past nine years, now located at the Irving Park church; William 0., who is his 


father's partner in business; IMar^aret W., who died at the age of nine years; 
Kate ]\Iontelins, the wife of J. A. Johnston, of Charleston, South Carolina; 
Jeane IM., who died in 1896 at the age of twenty-two years; and Emily F., the 
wife of John A. Montelius, Jr., of Piper City. Jeane M. McKinney was in 
the fifth year of the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, at the 
time of her death, pursuing a literary course. 

In his political views Mr. McKinney is a republican where national ques- 
tions and issues are involved but at local elections does not consider himself 
bound by party ties. In early days he served as collector of his township 
and was also school officer. He is a charter member of the Presbj^terian 
church of Piper City and one of its trustees. His interest in community 
affairs is deep and sincere and his cooperation can always be counted upon 
to further any progressive public movement. He has made a splendid record 
as a business man, for he started out in life empty-handed, realizing, however, 
that labor is the basis of all honorable success. He has worked diligently and 
persistently and his close application and stalwart purpose find tangible evi- 
dence in the substantial success which he is now enjoying and which has made 
him one of the leading business men of Ford county for many years. 


Charles F. Helman, who is now serving for the eighth year as county 
surveyor of Ford county, and is a resident of Paxton, was l)orn in the city of 
Jonkoping, Sw^eden, November 21, 1862. He acquired his education in the 
government schools of his native country and was graduated at Stockholm oii 
the completion of a course in technology. He afterwards engaged in surveying 
for the government, spending four years in that way in the extreme north of 
Lapland. This is the district of the midnight sun, when during six mouths 
of the year one can see to read for only about an hou)' per day. During 
several months the night is very short and in May, June and tlie greater part 
of July the sun is to be seen almost any time in the twenty-four hours. Dur- 
ing two years Mr. Helman was iu the employ of private corporations in cjinal 
and drainage work. Thinking to find a still more profitable field of labor 
in the new world, he came to America in 1893 and settled at Rantoul in Cham- 
paign county, where he remained for two years. In 1895 he came to Ford 
county and engaged in various occupations. In 1900 he was elected county 


sui'vc'3'or, since which time he has been reelected and is now serving for the 
eighth year. His excellent university training and his broad, practical expe- 
rience well qualify him for the able discharge of the duties of this position, and 
he has made a most creditable record in office. Since 1900 he has been 
appointed continuously as city surveyor of Paxton under both democratic and 
republican administrations. 

On the 2d of September, 1896, Mr. Helman was married in Paxton, to 
Miss Matilda Johnson, a daughter of August and Mary J., who were natives 
of Sweden and came to America in 1867. Mr. and Mrs. Helman now have 
four children, Edna, Hertha, Carl and Lillian. The parents are members 
of the Swedish Lutheran church and are highly esteemed socially, the hospital- 
ity of the best homes being freely accorded them. Mr. Helman has always 
voted with the republican party and takes an active interest in politics, 
strongly desiring the adoption of the principles which he believes are most con- 
ducive to good government. As a citizen he is progressive and loyal and 
withholds his aid and cooperation from no movement calculated to benefit the 
community and in fact his labors have been effective in increasing its wealth 
and standing among the counties of his adopted state. He has had no occa- 
sion to regret his determination to seek a home in America, for here he has 
not only found creditable success in professional lines but has also gained a 
good home and the high regard of many friends. 


John AVeakman is the owner of a well improved farm of three hundred 
and twenty acres on section 15, Pella township. He has brought this prop- 
erty under a high state of cultivation and makes a specialty of raising cattle, 
horses and hogs. He was born in Germany in July, 18-47, his parents being 
Louis and Ellen Weakman, who in 1848 crossed the Atlantic to the new w^orld, 
first settling in St. Louis, ]\Iissouri. Later they removed to IMenard county, 
Illinois, where the father followed farming until his death. In their family 
were six children, of whom four are yet living: Molly, the wife of Joe 
Whipple, of Oklahonui; Tina, the wife of August Onken, of Gibson City; 
Emma, who became the wife of George McNabana and also makes her home 
in Gibson City; and John, of this review. 


During the days of his boyhood and yonth John Weakman aided his father 
in the work of the home farm and in the common schools acquired his educa- 
tion. On attaining his majority he rented hind and thus carried on farming 
on his own account for fifteen years, during which lime he saved his earnings 
until his capital was sufficient to enable him to purchase a farm of his own. 
He then invested in three hundred and twenty acres of land on section 15, 
Pella township, and has since given his time and energies to the further devel- 
opment and improvement of this place. The fields are well tilled and 1)ring 
forth rich crops and he is also engaged in raising cattle, horses and hogs. His 
farm work is carefully conducted and the systematic management of his busi- 
ness makes him one of the successful agriculturists of the community. 

]\rr. Weakman has been married twice. He first wedded IMiss Laura 
Follick, who was born in McLean county, Illinois, and they became the par- 
ents of three children : Benjamin, living near Gibson City ; Hattie, the wife 
of Ed Dunman of this country; and Marion, who is with his grandfather. For 
his second wife JMr. Weakman chose ]\Iiss Gusta Cales, who was born in Vir- 
ginia. The children of this marriage are nine in number : Myrtle, the wife 
of Taylor Henry, of Illinois; James; Frank, Bernie, deceased; Pearl; John; 
Ruth; Fred; and Howard. 

In his political views Mr. Weakman is a stalwart republican and for 
thirty years has served as school director, the cause of education finding in 
him a warm friend. Otherwise he has never sought nor held public office, 
yet in matters of citizenship is progressive and gives loyal support to many 
measures for the public good. He is justly regarded as one of the leading 
farmers of Pella township and among those with whom he has come in c<ui- 
tact he has gained many friends. The success that he has achieved has come 
to him as the merited reward of his own labor, as he has ever placed his 
dependence upon the substantial qualities of diligence and thrift. 


Although James McBride had a cash capital of but eight Inuuh-i'd and 
fifty dollars when he arrived in Illinois, he is today one of the largest tax- 
payers in Brenton township and his prosperous career should serve as a source 
of inspiration and encouragement to others, showing what may be accomplished 


through business enterprise, unfaltering perseverance and strong determina- 
tion for upon those qualities he has builded his success. 

A native of Ireland, Mr. IMcBride was born January 12, 1842, his parents 
being Ro])ert and Ruth (Kirker) MeBride. They came to America in 384-1 
and first located in Belmont county, Ohio, upon a farm. The father died 
in 1861 and the mother in 1858. In their family were seven children, of 
whom five are now living, as follows: Gilbert K., who resides in this county; 
John B., living in Paw Paw, Illinois; R. A., whose home is in La Salle county, 
this state; N. A., of New York city; and James, of this review. 

James McBride was but two j^ears of age when brought by his parents to 
America and upon the home farm in Ohio he was reared, early becoming famil- 
iar Avith the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. 
He enlisted for service in the Civil war in 1862, when a young man of twenty 
years, and served for three years in defense of the Union, participating in all 
of the experiences of camp life. He marched with Sherman to the sea and 
participated in many important battles. After the war he returned to Ohio 
and in the fall of 1865 came to LaSalle county, Illinois, where he lived for 
three years, afterward removing to Livingston county, this state. Having 
carefully saved his earnings in the meantime, he now made an investment in 
property, purchasing eighty acres, which he cultivated and improved, bring- 
ing his farm into a high state of fertility. 

In 1869 Mr. McBride was married to Miss Clarilda Strank, who was born 
in Ohio and was one of two children. Following their marriage they began 
their domestic life upon their farm in Livingston county, where they remained 
for ten years. Mr. McBride then traded his property for two hundred and 
forty acres of land on section 31, Brenton township. Ford county, whereon he 
resided until 1892. From time to time he added more land and when he 
retired and removed to Piper City he was the owner of eight hundred and 
ninety acres, all in the panhandle of the county. Since this he has sold three 
hundred and twenty acres and he still owns five hundred and seventy acres. 
He has always made a specialty of buying, raising, feeding and selling stock, 
and his business transactions of this character have returned him a good 
profit. The farming interests are valuable and bring to him an excellent finan- 
cial return annually. In all of his business investments he has shown good 
judgment and is today a prosperous citizen as the result of well directed 

The home of Mr. and Mrs. McBride was blessed with four children : Celes- 
tia May, now the wife of H. M. Hawthorne, living on a farm in this county; 


Sarah A., who is the widow of William Davis and is now acting as her father's 
housekeeper; and Jesse W. and Orville F., both deceased. Mrs. Davis has 
one son, Henry James Davis, who is now attending' the Piper City high school. 
Mrs. McBride died in 1890, leaving her husliand and three children to mourn 
her death, while many friends also deph)red her loss for she displayed many 
sterling traits of character that endeared her to those with whom she came 
in contact. In September, 1894, IMr. IMcBride married Elizal)eth AVoods, a 
native of Belmont county, Ohio. 

Mr. JMcBride was a democrat until 1896, when he voted for William 
McKinley, since which time he has deposited his ballot in support of republi- 
can principles. He has held several township offices and has served as school 
director for twenty years, the cause of education finding in him a stalwart 
champion. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in 
the lodge at Piper City, and to St. Paul Commandery, K. T., at Fairbury, 
Illinois. He is in hearty sympathy with the principles and tenets of the 
craft, wdiich is based upon mutual kindliness and brotherly love. He attends 
and supi^orts the Presbyterian church and is interested in all that pertains to 
the welfare and upbuilding of the town and county. He is now president 
of the Piper City Fair and Driving Association and is one of the best known 
residents of Ford county, having made a creditable record as a business man 
and citizen. He has prospered, not because of any assistance which he 
received at the outset of his career or from any influence that has been exerted 
in his behalf, but because he has labored diligently and untiringly, recognizing 
the fact that earnest effort is the basis of all business advancement. 


A. L. Cherry is now living a retired life on his farm of one hundred and 
sixty acres, located (m section 9, Patton township. He is a native of the 
Buckeye state, his l)irth having occurred in Greene county, on the DJth of 
December, 1832. His parents, James and Elizabeth (Greenwood) Cherry, 
were natives of Virginia and at an early day took up their abode in Ohio, where 
the father purchased land and there reared his family of eleven children, of 
whom only two now survive, the brother of our subject being David, a resi- 
dent of Ohio. 


A. L. Cherry acquired liis edueatiou in the schools of his native state and 
remained under tlie parental roof until lie had reached the age of twenty 
years. He then learned the carpenter's trade, which he followd for seven 
years. Believing, however, that he would more readily acquire a competence 
in other pursuits in the west, he then made his way to INIoultrie county, Illi- 
nois, where he operated a tract of land which he rented, for two years, and he 
also spent three years in Washington, Iowa. In 1862 he took up his abode in 
Ford county, purchasing a farm of eighty acres, situated on section 9, Patton 
township, to which he later added an additional eighty-acre tract, so that his 
place now embraces one hundred and sixty acres. He has erected all of the 
buildings which are here seen today and added to the productiveness of his 
fields by the liberal use of tiling, so that his farm is now in a high state of 
cultivation. For many years he was actively identified with the work of the 
farm luit owing to his well directed labors and careful management he acquired 
a competence that now enables him to spend the evening of his life in hon- 
orable retirement. 

Mr. Cherry has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Martha 
Davis, by whom he had four children but two of the number are now deceased, 
the surviving daughters being: Laura, who resides in Paxton ; and Etta, 
the widow of Samuel Strong, a resident of Ford county. The wife and mother 
passed away in 1870, and three years later Mr. Cherry was married again, his 
second union being with Margaret Archer, who was born in Washington county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1835. She graduated from the high school in Washington, 
Pennsylvania, and for eight years prior to her marriage was successfully 
engaged in teaching. The parents of Mrs. Cherry were natives of Virginia 
and of Pennsylvania respectively, and she is one of a family of thirteen chil- 
dren, of whom only three survive, her sisters being: Sarah, the wife of Charles 
Ross, of Crawford county, Illinois ; and Charlotte, the widow of Jonathan 
Raney, of Ohio. 

Mr. Cherry has always given his support to the republican party and aside 
from serving as school director for several years has filled no public office, 
his time and attention during his active business career having been fully occu- 
pied with his private business affairs. Both he and his wife are consistent 
members of the United Presbyterian church at Paxton. He has lived in Ford 
county for more than four decades and during that time has witnessed many 
changes as pioneer conditions have given way to more modern methods in 
various lines. His acquaintance is wide and no man of this section of the 
state enjoys in larger degree the esteem and high regard of his neighbors and 


friends. He has now reached the advanced age of seventy-five years and his 
persistent labor in former years now enables him to enjoy in retirement the I 
accumulations of a profitable, successful and honorable career, while in the 
companionship of his estimable wife he takes great delight. 


A. AV. Barrow, a farmer and one of the early citizens of Ford county, now 
living in Gibson City, has by well directed labor gained enviable success. As 
he has prospered judicious investments have been made in property until he 
is now the owner of several good farms in Ford county. Although he is 
now practically living retired, he yet buys and sells stock and for a time con- 
ducted a grain business at Elliott, while he makes his home in Gibson City. 

]\rr. Barrow is the son of Frederick and Mary (Smith) Barrow, the for- 
mer a native of Frederick county, Virginia, who devoted his life to agricultural 
pursuits and school teaching. A. W. Barrow was born near Winchester, Vir- 
ginia, and there began his education, but when a young boy he accompanied 
his parents on their removal to Bloomington, Illinois, in 1865. His father pur- 
chased land east of Gibson City and the son attended the Scotland school on 
the prairie. When not busy with his text-books he worked on his father's 
farm, comprising four hundred acres of rich farming land. 

After attaining his majority A. W. Barrow was united in marriage to Aliss 
Florence Richardson, a daughter of John Richardson, a grain dealer of Elliott, 
who retired in 1879. ]\Tr. and Mrs. Barrow now have one son and one daugh- 
ter. The parents are mem])ers of the First Methodist churt-h at Gibson City. 
For a considerable period IMr. Barrow gave his undivided time and attention 
to general agricultural pursuits and was very successful. He became the 
owner of several good farms devoting them to the cultivation of the cereals 
best adapted to soil and cliniate. He also dealt in live stock and although 
lie is now practically I'dircd. he still buys and sells stock and derives from this 
business a good income. He is also a grain dealer at Elliott but he rents 
the greater jiart of bis land, the remainder being devoted to corn and oats 
and to pasturage. He has a fine home in Gibson City and the family are 
prominent in social life h(>re. 

In his political views Mr. Barrow is a democrat, in thorough sympathy 
with the principles of the party, bnt he has never sought nor desired office, 


preferring to give his undivided attention to his l)usiness affairs. Thus he 
gained the prosperity which he now enjoys and which enables him largely to 
live retired. In manner he is genial and jovial and his many good traits of 
character have gained him the confidence, good will and friendship of those 
with whom he has been associated. 


Samuel Clark, who was a well kno^^^l resident of Ford county, his home 
being in Brenton township, belonged to that class of representative American 
citizens who, though of foreign birth, are always loyal to the interests of their 
adopted land and in their home localities contribute in large measure to sub- 
stantial development and improvement. Moreover, Mr. Clark was one who 
owed his success entirely to his well directed labors, for he started out in life 

He was born near Londonderry, Ireland, IMay 20, 1825, and when a small 
boy crossed the Atlantic to Canada with his parents, John and Martha (Wells) 
Clark, both of whom died in Ohio. In their family were six sons and three 
daughters. The family remained in Canada for only about two years and 
then went to Washington county, Pennsylvania, whence they afterward removed 
to Guernsey county, Ohio. Samuel Clark was a youth in his teens at that 
time and he remained upon the home farm with his parents up to the time of 
his marriage, early becoming familiar with all the duties and labors that fall 
to the lot of the agriculturist. He gained practical knowledge of the best 
methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops and was thus well qualified 
to engage in farming on his own account when he married and established a 
home of his own. 

He continued a resident of Guernsey county, Ohio, until his removal to 
Chenoa, Livingston county, Illinois, where he resided for about a quarter of a 
century. On the expiration of that period he took up his abode upon a farm 
on section 22, Brenton township, which was his place of abode for seventeen 
years or until his death, which occurred on the 16th of January, 1905, when 
he had reached the ripe old age of eighty years. Throughout his entire life 
he gave his time and energies to general agricultural pursuits and owned a 
farm in Ohio and in Livingston county as well as his home property in Bren- 
ton township. In 1890 he purchased the place upon which his widow yet 


resides, securing one hundred and sixty acres on section 22 and also another 
tract of eighty acres. His care and diligence brought his fields under a high 
state of cultivation and he annually gathered good harvests. Year after 
year he prospered, so that he was enabled to leave his family in comfortable 
financial circumstances. 

]\Ir. Clark was married in 1853 to INIiss Jane IMorrow, who was born 
December 12, 1828, in Guernsey county, Ohio, a daughter of William and 
Martha (Atchison) ]\Iorrow, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, the 
former born in Westmoreland county and the latter in Washington county. 
They entered land in Guernsey county, Ohio, and there developed a new farm. 
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clark were born eight children : David, who is now operating 
the home farm; IMartha, the wife of Spencer McCreight, of Aledo, Illinois; 
]\Ialinda, the wife of W. J. Hester, of Chenoa, this state; John A., whose home 
is in Stanton, Nebraska ; William ]\I., a resident of Rantoul, Illinois ; Anna 
Jane, at home; Mathew, also of Rantoul; and Harriett, the wife of Thomas 
Simpson, of Iowa. 

In his political views Mr. Clark was a democrat but manifested only a 
citizen's interest in the political cpiestions, never seeking nor desiring office. 
He held membership in the United Presbyterian church and his life was an 
honorable and upright one, gaining for him the respect and good will of those 
with whom he was associated. He reached the eightieth milestone on life's 
journey and his record was characterized by all that is commendable in man's 
relations witJi his feHowmen. He provided well for his family and lived a 
life of honesty as well as industry, so that he left to his children a good name. 
]\Irs. Clark still survives her husl)and and is now living on the old home farm 
on section 22, Brenton township. She is widely known in this part of the 
county, where she has many friends. 


Albert Bucliholz is the village president of INIelvin and a citizen whose 
devotion to the general good is a1)()V(' (juestion. lie is well known here and 
the public regard in wliich he is held results from a long acquaintance with 
him and familiarity with the creditable principles which have governed his life 
in its various relations. He was formerly extensively engaged in the grain 





trade, owning a large elevator at Melvin, and liis success enables him to now 
enjoy well earned rest from further labor. 

Illinois may be proud to number such a man among her native sons. His 
birth occurred near Magnolia, IMarshall county, March 3, 1860, his parents 
being August and Caroline (Funte) Buchholz, the former born in Berlin, Ger- 
many, August 14, 1821, .and the latter in Westphalia in November, 1834. They 
came to the United States about 1849 and were married in Chicago. The 
father worked first on the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad and 
afterward followed shoemaking in Magnolia, having learned that trade in the 
old country. During the remainder of his active life he was identified with 
farming interests and he is still the owner of seven hundred and twenty acres 
of rich and valuable land around the town. He also owns several sections of 
land in Iowa and ]\Iinnesota, which he gave to his children. He has been 
very prosperous and this is due entirely to his unremitting diligence and lal)or 
intelligently applied. As the years have passed he has made the most of his 
opportunities and certainly deserves great credit for what he has accomplished. 
He now resides at Oakland, California, with his oldest son, Charles, having 
there made his home for three years. His wife died upon a farm south of 
Melvin, August 11, 1890. Their eldest child, Charles Buchholz, is a graduate 
of the Des Moines School of Osteopathy, as is his wife, and both are practicing 
in Oakland. Albert is the second of the famil}^ William, of IMelvin, is inter- 
ested with his brother Frank in a cotton plantation of about eighteen hundred 
acres in Mississippi. Amandus follows general merchandising in IMelvin. 
Frank has resided upon the home farm of three hundred and twenty acres in 
Peach Orchard township since the father removed to California and, as stated, 
is a partner of his brother William in their cotton interests in the south. Emma 
is with her father at Oakland, California. Laura is a teacher of physical 
culture in Boston, ]\Iassachusetts. Mabel is the wife of George T. Hersch, a 
general merchant of Melvin. 

Albert Buchholz spent the first eight years of his life in his native county 
and in December, 1868, came with his parents to Ford county, the family 
home being established on a farm adjoining the village of Melvin. He con- 
tinued with his parents up to the time of his marriage and ac(iuired his edu- 
cation in the public schools. During the periods of vacation he worked in the 
fields and thus gained practical knowledge of the best methods of tilling the 
soil and caring for the crops. When he attained his majority he began farm- 
ing near the town and for nine years continued to cultivate land belonging to 
his father. In November, 1890, he entered the grain trade, in which he con- 


tinned for seventeen years or until July, 1907, when he sold out. He not only 
dealt in grain but also in seeds, coal and building materials and built up a 
very extensive business. He wrought along modern lines of business activity, 
made good use of his opportunities and as the years passed became recognized 
as one of the foremost representatives of the grain trade in Ford county. He 
built in Melvin an elevator with a capacity of eighty thousand bushels and 
later sold that and bought another elevator in Melvin with a capacity of ninety 
thousand bushels. At first he was associated with his brother in the ownership 
of the latter but at the end of three years he purchased his brother's interest 
and continued the business alone for two years or until he sold out. The 
annual trade reached a very extensive figure and throughout this part of the 
state the name of Buchholz is recognized as a synonym for commercial integ- 
rity and honor. 

On the 1st of April, 1885, occurred the marriage of Albert Buchholz and 
Miss Elizabeth Schueneman, who was born near Magnolia, Illinois, December 
11, 1860, and when five years of age went to Randolph county, INIissouri, with 
her parents, August and Dorothy Eliza (Spellmyer) Schueneman, there resid- 
ing until her marriage. Both her father and mother were natives of 
Westphalia, Germany, the former born January 16, 1834, and the latter Decem- 
ber 5, 1837. They were married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. August Buchholz 
in Magnolia, and the father died in Missouri, March 3, 1899, while the mother 
is still living upon the old homestead in that state. Throughout his life he 
followed the occupation of farming and thus provided for his family. Unto 
Mr. and Mrs. Schueneman were bom eight children : Mrs. Buchholz ; Kate, 
the wife of John Legendre, of Salisbury, jMissouri ; Emma, the wife of Louis 
Penn, of Los Angeles, California; John of Moberly, Missouri; Ida, the wife of 
John Thomas, a farmer of Randolph county, INIissouri ; Charles, a mason of 
Melvin ; Henry, who is living on the old homestead in Randolph county ; and 
Dora, the wife of Rev. George Turner, a Methodist Episcopal preacher of Day, 
Missouri. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Buchholz have been born six children : Roscoe 
C, now a student in the Champaign University ; Arthur L., who is attending 
the National School of Telegraphy at Danville, Illinois; Ada Lorana, a student 
in the Woman's College at Jacksonville, Illinois; Ida Beryl, also attending 
that school; and Ruth and Ralph, twins, who are students in the schools of 

Mr. Buchholz is a stalwart republican and lias been called to several pub- 
lic offices. lie has been school director for three or four terms and is now 
president of the village of Melvin. He has likewise been assessor of the 


township for three or four terms and is serving on the school board in connec- 
tion with his duties as assessor and village president. No trust reposed in 
him has ever been betrayed in the slightest degree. On the contrary he is 
most loyal to the interests of town and county and his labors have been a far- 
reaching and etfective force in promoting general progress. Socially he is 
connected with the Knights of Pythias and with the IModern Woodmen of 
America. He belongs to one of the old and representative families of this part 
of the state and has done much to sustain the reputation which has alwa3^s 
been associated with the name of Buchholz. In the community where he lives 
he stands as a man among men, unostentatious and unassuming and yet 
respected by all for his genuine worth. 


Harm Henrichs is the owner of an excellent farm of one hundred and 
sixty acres which has doubled in price since it came into his possession, owing 
largely to the improvement he has placed upon it and his enterprising efforts 
in its cultivation. He v/as born in Hanover, Germany, August 6, IS^ri, his 
parents being Oldig and Elsie (Siebelts) Henrichs. The father was a farmer 
in Germany and in the family there were three sons: INIalchert, who is now 
cultivating the old home farm; Harm, of this review; and Detert, also of 

Harm Henrichs acquired his education in the common schools of his native 
countr}', where he remained until thirty-two years of age. He came to 
America in the spring of 1886, settling first in Paxton, Illinois, and for one 
3^ear he worked on the farm of his brother-in-law. In 1887 he removed to 
Ford township, where he rented land from H. Ashley, cultivating this from 
1878 until 1901. In 1900 he purchased his present property, comprising one 
hundred and sixty acres in Sullivant township. Some improvements had been 
made upon it but he has further carried forward the work of development 
and improvement until the farm for which he paid seventy-five dollars per 
acre is today worth twice that amount. Everything about his place is indic- 
ative of his careful supervision and practical methods. He has studied the 
conditions of the soil and the demands of plant life in the matter of food 
and through the rotation of crops he keeps the soil in excellent condition. His 


life has l)eeu oue of untiring- industry and his perseverance has resulted in his 

]\rr. Ilenriehs was married in Germany in 1883 to Miss Annie Ilenriehs, 
who though of tlie same name was not a relative. Her parents were Profes- 
sor Johann and Annie (Cramer) Henrichs. The father came first to America, 
landing in the fall of ^S86, and in October of the same year Mrs. Annie Hen- 
richs also came. Their family numbered five children: Elizabeth, the wiL'e 
of C. Brethorst, of Peoria, Illinois ; Henry, who resides in SuUivaut township ; 
JMartha, the Avife of P. Brethorst ; John, who resides in Chariton county, i\Iis- 
souri ; and Annie, now JMrs. Henrichs. Professor Henrichs died in 1899 and 
his wife passed away forty-eight hours before. Both died in Germany. The 
father of our subject, however, still survives, at the venerable age of eighty- 
eight years but the mother passed away in 1902, at the age of sixty-nine. Unto 
Mr. and Mrs. Harm Henrichs have been born nine children, namely : Otto, 
who is employed in the Sibley Bank; Ella, the wife of William Brucker, a 
resident of Sullivant township; Elizabeth; ^Margaret; John; Vena; Herman; 
Mildred; and Arnold. 

The parents are members of the German Lutheran church and are loyal 
to its teachings and their professions. The record which ]\lr. Henrichs has 
made in the business world is a creditable one, for he came to America empty- 
handed, his substantial qualities of energy and enterprise, however, constitut- 
ing an excellent foundation ujjou which to build success and as time has passed 
he has so directed his labors that he is now the owner of an excellent farm 
returning him a good yearly income. 


The Prairie Grove Stock Farm, comprising three liundred and twenty 
acres, situated on section 11. Wall townshi]), is a fitting monument to the life 
of thrift and energy of the ])roprietor, .1. II. Snelling. He is here engaged 
in farming and stock-raising, having for the past twelve years made a spe- 
cialty of the breeding and raising of shorthorn cattle. Mr. Snelling is a 
native son of Illinois, his birth having occurred in La Salle county, on the 
2d of ]\larch, 1846, a son of John and Rebecca (Shaver) Snelling, the former 
a native of West Virginia, while the birth of the latter occurred in Ohio. 
They became pioneer settlers of La Salle county, the year of their arrival 


there being 1832, and from that time until his death, which occurred in the 
year 1888, the father was closely identified with the agricultural interests of 
that section of the state. The mother, however, is still living and yet makes 
her home on the farm in La Salle county. Although she has reached the 
very advanced age of eighty-six years, she is still active and performs the 
major portion of her h(msehold duties. Their family numbered seven chil- 
dren, as follows : Nancy, the wife of Morris Weaver, of Ford county ; Eliza- 
beth and Olive, both of whom are now deceased; J. II.. of this review; David, 
who resides in La Salle county; and George R. of Coffeyville, Kansas; and 
Annis, with the mother in La Salle county. 

J. H. Snelling was reared to agricultural pursuits, assisting his father in 
the operation of the home farm during the summer seasons, while in the 
winter months he pursued his education in the common schools. He later 
went to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended a business college, from which he 
was graduated. Following his graduation he returned home and for two 
years assisted his father in the operation of the home place. He then accepted 
the priucipalship of a business college at Galesburg, Illinois, which position 
he filled for two years, but on account of failing health, occasioned by indoor 
life, he was compelled to resume farming operations, and again returned to 
Ford county, renting the homestead property for four years. On the expira- 
tion of that period he purchased the farm which is now his home, this place 
comprising three hundred and twenty acres, situated on section 11, Wall town- 
ship, Avhich is known as the Prairie Grove Stock Farm. He has improved 
the property with excellent farm buildings for the shelter of grain and stock 
and has a commodious and modern country residence, so that the place in its 
neat and attractive appearance constitutes one of the valuable farm proper- 
ties of this section of Ford county. He is here engaged in raising various 
cereals best adapted to the soil and climate, while in his pastures are seen high 
grades of stock. He makes a specialty of breeding and raising shorthorn 
cattle and this branch of his business is proving a gratifying source of income 
to him. 

Mr. Snelling was united in marriage to Miss Frances E. Spradling, the 
ceremony being performed on the 15th of September, 1872. She was born 
in La Salle county in 1851, and is one of a family of ten children. Her 
parents are both now deceased, the mother having lived to the advanced age 
of ninety years. The two sisters of Mrs. Snelling now living are : Rachel, 
the wife of George Debolt, a resident of La Salle comity; and Elizabeth, the 
wife of Eugene Poller, who makes her home in Piano, Illinois. 


The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. SncUing has been blessed with three sons 
and one daughter: Herman, who is engaged in the implement business at 
Paxton, Illinois; William Roy, at home; Blanch E., who is with her parents; 
and Jolm F., who is still nnder the parental roof. Mr. Snelling gives his 
political support to the men and measures of the democratic party and at one 
time served as supervisor of Wall township, while for fourteen years he acted 
as school treasurer. Although public-spirited and willing to aid in any move- 
ment calculated to benefit his home locality, he prefers to leave office-holding 
to others, his farming and stock-raising interests claiming his time and atten- 
tion. He finds his greatest social enjoyment at his own fireside, where his 
family and intimate friends know him to be a delightful companion. He has 
worked earnestlj^ and persistently in the acquirement of success and today he 
feels amply repaid for the effort he has made in life, for the Prairie Grove 
Stock Farm is looked upon as one of the valuable properties of Ford county. 


Among those who are classed with the prominent and representative men 
of Ford county mention should be made of Albert Gilmore, now a retired 
farmer living in Gibson City. Coming to Illinois during the pioneer epoch 
in the history of this county, he purchased wild, unbroken prairie land at a 
low figure and has profited by its rise in value until he is one of the wealthy 
men of this part of the state, having very extensive landed possessions, for he 
has placed his capital in the safest of all investments — real estate. He was 
born in Harrison county, Ohio, near Cadiz, on the 26th of January, 1841, and 
is a son of Nathaniel and jMary (Craig) Gilmore. His grandfathers in both 
the paternal and maternal lines came from Ireland. His paternal grand- 
father, Samuel Gilmore, was born in County Cavan, Ireland, and on coming to 
America located in Pennsylvania. He married Miss Elizabeth Buchanan, a 
native of that state, and they were among the early settlers of Harrison county, 
Ohio, where they located in 1803, there residing until called fnmi this life. 
They made their way westward when there was but little travel across the 
mountains into Ohio and more remote districts known as the Northwest Terri- 
tory, and they aided in reclaiming that region from the rule of the savages 
and converting it into a land of civilization. Samuel Gilmore was a soldier 
of the war of 1812 and the hard service and exposure of army life so under- 



mined his health that lie died September 6, 1814, only four days after his 
return from the war. In his family were seven children, six of whom reached 
adult age, but none are now living. 

Nathanial Gilmore, the father, spent his boyhood and j'outh in Harrison 
county, Ohio, and in 1827 gained a companion and helpmate for life's journey 
by his marriage to Mary Craig, the daughter of John Craig. Twenty years 
later they removed to Belmont county, Ohio, where Nathaniel Gilmore engaged 
in farming and stock-raising for five years. He then took up his residence 
near LeRoy in McLean county, Illinois, in 1852, but was not long permitted, 
to enjoy his new home, as he died November 5, 1855, his grave being made in 
the Gilmore cemetery on the old homestead, where a monument marks his last 
resting place. His wnfe long survived him and ever remained true to his 
memory. Her death occurred December 21, 1884. In politics Mr. Gilmore 
was a democrat, progressive in citizenship and successful in business, accumu- 
lating a handsome estate. His family numbered twelve children : Samuel 
and Jane E., both of whom are now deceased; John, who was born in 1832 
and is a retired farmer of Webster City, Iowa, deriving a substantial income 
from three good farms; Rachel, who has also passed away; Craig, one of the 
wealthy agriculturists and extensive landowners of Ford county, living in 
Drummer township three miles north of Gibson City; Sarah, deceased; Albert, 
of this review; William, living in Eldorado, Kansas; Mary A. and Johnson, 
both deceased; one who died in infancy; and Ephraim, a resident of Lee, Indi- 
ana, who is engaged in the ditching business. He owns twenty-eight hundred 
acres of swamp land, which he is now draining, and the ditch when completed 
will be fourteen miles long. It will reclaim a district that will be rich and 
productive soil and can be made very valuable. 

Albert Gilmore largely acquired his education in the district schools and 
also spent two terms as a student in the Wesleyan University at Bloomington, 
Illinois, and in 1863 engaged in teaching school. Through the periods of 
vacation he was trained to the work of the homestead and after teaching 
engaged in farming at home. Subsequent to the father's death the children 
conducted the farm for about fifteen years, on the expiration of which period 
three brothers, William, John and Albert Gilmore, came to Ford county and 
in 1864 purchased sixteen hundred acres of wild land. The unsettled and 
unimproved condition of this section of the state made it possible for them to 
purchase the property at from four dollars and twenty-five cents to eight dol- 
lars per acre. With characteristic energy they began its development and 
cultivation but Albert Gilmore did not make Ford county his home until 


1870, when he took up liis abode within its borders. About 1866 the broth- 
ers purchased six huudred acres in Champaign county', four hundred acres of 
which was broken. The four brothers worked together, carrying on their 
business interests thus until 1870, when the land was divided, Albert Gilmore's 
share being five hundred and tw^enty acres. As he has recognized oppor- 
tunity for judicious and profitable investment he has since added to his 
property from time to time until he is one of the most extensive landholders 
in this part of the state, his possessions aggregating two thousand acres in 
Ford and McLean counties, about eighteen hundred and thirty acres being in 
Ford county. He also owns twenty-two hundred and forty acres in Kansas, 
one thousand four hundred and sixty-seven acres in Missouri near Quincy, 
three hundred and twenty acres in Llinnesota, three thousand acres in Canada 
and other property. He has always carried on farming and stock-raising, 
keeping only high grade stock, and the development of his fields and his live- 
stock interests liave both proved sources of profit. 

On the 18th of February, 1880, Mr. Gilmere was united in marriage to 
Miss Elizabeth Boundy, who was born near Peoria, Illinois, June 19, 1858, 
and is a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Hill) Boundy, who were of 
English descent. Unto Mr. and ]\Irs. Gilmore have been born six children : 
Samuel, who attended school in Indianapolis, Indiana, and lives uj^on his fath- 
er's farm northwest of Gibson City; Emma Josephine, at home, who is a 
graduate of the Gibson high school and also pursued a course in bookkeeping 
at Brown's College; Lillie May, who was also a student in bookkeeping in 
Brown's Business College in Bloomington ; William A., who died in 1890; and 
Cynthia M. and Florence E., both at home. 

The parents are members of the First Presbyterian church, to iho sup- 
port of which they contribute generously. They resided upon the farm until 
1905, when they removed to Gibson City, and the following year Mr. Gil- 
more built a beautiful home. In politics he is a republican, having been ix 
stalwart supporter of the ])arty since age conferred upon him tlie right of 
francliise, yet lie has never been a politician in the sense of offiee seeking. 
He has preferred to concentrate his time and energies ui)on his business affairs, 
which have been most carefully and ably conducted. His success has resulted 
largely from judicious investments and these liave come as the result of his 
sound judgment, which is seldom, if ever, at fault in business transactions. 
He seems to recognize almost intuitively the value of an opportunity and the 
possibilities which attend it and liis keen sagacity is one of the strongest fac- 
tors in his splendid success. His life, too, has been characterized by 



unwearied industry intelligently applied, and the prosperity which he attained 
should serve to encourage and inspire others, showing the opportunities that 
lie before the ambitious, determined, industrious American man. His father 
left about fifteen hundred dollars to each of his children, but aside from this 
Albert Gilmore received no outside assistance and the success that he has 
achieved in life is therefore due to his own well directed efforts. 


George Drendel, a practical and progressive farmer of Blona township, 
living on section 21, owns one hundred and seven acres of rich and arable land 
on section 22 and 28, and in addition he oi:)erates another tract of two hundred 
and sixty acres also lying in IMona township. It was in this township that 
Mr. Drendel was born on the 6th of May, 1871, of the marriage of Prank S. 
and Mary (Slater) Drendel. His father was long known as one of the repre- 
sentative and prominent farmers of the locality. He was born in Germany 
on the 11th of November, 1839, his parents being Martin and Mary (Smith) 
Drendel, whose children were Francis, Frank S., Barbara, George and Lewis. 

Frank S. Drendel was reared to farm life and was educated in both French 
and German. He began providing for his own support as a farm hand in 
his native country when fourteen years of age and was employed by the year 
until 1865, when he came to the United States. He did not tarry on the 
eastern coast but made his way at once to Dupage county, Illinois, where he 
worked as a farm hand for two months. He was afterward in St. Louis, 
Missouri, for a time and later in New Orleans prior to his return to Illinois. 
In the spring of 1867 he took up his abode in Joliet and for two years was 
employed as a laborer before coming to Ford county in 1869. Here he rented 
land and broke prairie for five years, after which he purchased one hundred 
and sixty acres of land on section 21, ]\Iona township, where he has since 
resided. As the years passed by, however, he prospered and later derived 
his income from a fine farming property of seven hundred and twenty acres, 
which was well improved and supplied with modern conveniences, now occu- 
pied by his heirs. After becoming a naturalized American citizen he gave 
his political allegiance to the democracy and for many years served as school 
director. He was a communicant of the Catholic church and well known in 
Mona township as a citizen of genuine worth. In 1870 he wedded Miss ]\Iary 


Slater and unto tliein have been Lorn five sons and four daughters, namely : 
George, Rebecca, Susie, Henry, Frank, Frederick, Mary, Annie and Martin. 
The father died November 13, 1901. 

George Dreudel remained with his father until lie attained his majority. 
In the meantime he mastered the common branches of learning taught in the 
public schools and was trained to hal)its of industry and economy, thus form- 
ing characteristics which in later years have proved an important element in 
his success. When he had reached manhood he rented land from his father 
and continued its cultivation for several years while in the meantime he care- 
fully saved his earnings until he was enabled to purchase property for himself. 
His home farm of one hundred and seven acres on sections 22 and 28, ]\Iona 

township, is a well developed tract of land and in the cultivation of an addi- 
tional tract of two hundred and sixty acres he adds materially to his annual 

income. In all of his farm work he is systematic and progressive and has 
therefore gained desirable success. He now has charge of his father's estate. 

On the 27th of January, 1897, Mr. Drendel was married to Miss Elizabeth 
Thiel, who was born in La Salle county, Illinois, October 14, 1876, a daughter 
of John and Elizabeth (Ilughman) Thiel, who were natives of Germany and 
came to the United States at an early day. Mrs. Drendel was one of a family 
of six children and by her marriage has become the mother of two daughters 
and three sons: Ethel M., Emma E., Lester F., Walter M., and Georgf 

The parents hold membership in tlie Catholic church at Cullom and Mr. 
Drendel belongs to the Woodmen lodge there. He exercises his right of fran- 
chise in support of the men and measures of the democracy and for seven 
years he filled the office of school director. The cause of education finds in 
him a stalwart champion and he stanchly advocates every movement calculated 
to prove of public good, always desiring the best development of the 


A. C. Munro possesses the enterprising spirit of the middle west. He 
owns eighty acres of land on sections 28 and 33, Pella township, and operates 
a farm of two hundred acres. He is thus leading a life of industry and is 
meeting with fair success in his undertakings. He was born in La Salle 


count}', Illinois, January 14, 1865, his parents being W. C. and Emma (Pearson) 
Miinro. The father was born in IMassachnsetts, while the mother's birth 
occurred near Dayton, Ohio. In 1854 W. C. Mnnro arrived in Illinois and 
located in La Salle county, where he began farming, carrying on agricultural 
pursuits throughout his remaining days. Both he and his wife are now 
deceased. They were the parents of eight children, seven of whom survive: 
Rosetta, the wife of Henry Milborn, of Kankakee, Illinois; A. C, of this 
review; Amanda, deceased; Lemuel B., who resides in IMarshalltown, Iowa; 
Elvira, the Avife of James Grey, of Saunemin, Livingston count.y, Illinois ; G. 
W., who makes his home in Iowa; Ira P., of this county; and Esther, who 
resides in Fairbury. 

No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life 
for A. C. Munro in his boyhood and youth. He attended the public schools 
and thoroughly mastered the branches of learning therein taught. He con- 
tinued with his father until eighteen years of age, when he started out in 
business life as a school teacher, following the profession for three years. On 
the expiration of that period he made a trip westward to Nebraska, where he 
worked for four years at Alliance, after which he engaged in farming on his 
own account for two years. In 1891 he returned to Illinois, where he was 
emploj^ed at various kinds of labor for four years and then went to Iowa, 
where he followed farming for a year. Again returning to his native state, 
he filled such positions as he could secure for two years and later began farm- 
ing on his own account. 

Mr. IMunro was married in 1898 to Miss Edith Dillon, who was born in 
Livingston county, Illinois, in 1870, a daughter of Edwin and Elizabeth Dil- 
lon. The mother is still living in Fairbury, this state, but the father died 
May 4, 1908. Unto ]\Ir. and Mrs. Dillon were born three children : Oscar, 
now living on the old homestead; Alida, the wife of George Kilbury, and 
Mrs. Munro. The last named by her marriage has become the mother of T )nr 
children ; Esther L., Edwin C., and Ruth E., who are yet under the parental 
roof; and Willard R., deceased. 

The family home is a farm of eighty acres lying on sections 28 and 33, 
Bella township, and Mr. ]\Iunro operates altogether two hundred acres of land, 
which he has brought under a high state of cultivation, the fields returning 
to him rich crops. In his farm work he is practical and has lived a life of 
industry and untiring diligence, his success being based entirely upon his own 
labors and capable management. Both Mr. and Mrs. ]\Iunro are consistent 
members of the Christian church of Fairbury and his influence is ever given 


on the side of tliose movements and measures whieli tend to uplift mankind 
and make the world l)etter. He is a stanch advocate of the temperance cause 
and votes with the prohibition party. His fellow townsmen, recognizing his 
trustworthiness and his ability, have called him to public office. He served 
as justice of the peace for four years and is now acting as a school director. 


The farming interests of Dix township find a worthy representative in 
Harry Schutte, who makes his home on section 28. He is pleasantly located 
about six and a half miles northeast of Gibson City and a mile and a quarter 
northeast of Guthrie, and here he is successfully engaged in general farming 
and stock-raising. He was born in the northern part of Germany in 1857 
and is a son of Gerhard and Taytye Schutte, who were farming people of the 
fatherland, where they spent their entire lives. In their family were six 
children, and two sisters, Ellis and Johanna, are now residents of America. 

Harry Schutte acquired his education in the schools of Germany and came 
to America in 1881, when a young man of twenty-four years. He sailed from 
Bremen and after a voyage of two weeks landed at Baltimore but did not 
tarry on the eastern coast, making liis way direct to Gibson City, Illinois. 
In this locality he worked out by the month as a farm hand for six years 
on different farms and then Avhen his labors and economy had brought him 
sufficient capital he purchased eighty acres of land, of Avhich he became the 
possessor in 1890, paying for it fifty dollars per acre. Five years later he 
sold that tract for seventy-five dollars per acre and invested in a quarter sec- 
tion of land where he now lives on section 28, Dix township. For this he 
paid seventy-five dollars per acre. He has placed most of the improvements 
upon the property, has drained and tiled the land, l)uilt barns, put in scales 
and in fact has added all modern er|uipments and accessories which facili- 
tate the farm work. In addition to raising the cereals best adapted to soil 
and climate he also handles some stock and gains a good financial return 
annually from liis labors in that direction. In addition to the home property 
he owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in Sullivant to\^^lship, Ford 
county, which he purchased two years ago for one hundred and ten dollars per 
acre and which is well improved. 








In 1888 occurred the marriage of Mr. Schutte and Miss Caroline Bonnen 
a sister of Harry Bonnen, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume. 
She was born in Germany and was a daughter of Bonnie P. and Tillie (De 
Grote) Bonnen. They came to America in 1867 and Mrs. Schutte acciuired 
her education in the district schools of this country. By her marriage she has 
become the mother of seven children: George; Tillie; John; Caroline; Annie; 
Elma, deceased; and the first born, who died in infancy. 

Mr. Schutte casts an independent ballot, supporting men and measures 
rather than party. He is, however, interested in the welfare of his community 
and his cooperation can always be counted upon to further progressive public 
measures. He belongs to the German Lutheran church and a life of upright- 
ness and business integrity has won for him the friendship and good will of 
his fellowmen. 


George D. Montelius, wdiose prominence in the grain trade of Illinois is 
indicated by his election as one of the directors of the Illinois State Grain 
Dealers' Association, is now extensively operating in grain at Piper City under 
the firm name of George D. IMontelius & Company, becoming his father's part- 
ner and his successor in the management of the business. 

He was born in Piper City, November 30, 1872, and has always made his 
home here. In early boyhood he attended the public schools and for four 
years was under the instruction of a private tutor, after which he spent two 
years as a student in Lake Forest Academy. He likewise attended the ]\Iichi- 
gan Military Academy at Orchard Lake, IMichigan, for two years and follow- 
ing his return to Piper City became a factor in its business circles in the winter 
of 1894 as a partner with his brothers, J.' K. and J. A. Montelius, in the agri- 
cultural implement business under the firm style of Montelius Brothers. This 
association was maintained until the 1st of May, 1902, wdien George D. Montel- 
ius sold liis interest to his ])r()ther J. A. IMontelius, Jr., and entered the grain 
trade w^ith his father under the firm name of George D. Montelius & Company. 
He has continued therein to the present time and since the 1st of May, 1902, 
has been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. He is widely known 
because of the extent and importance of his operations as a grain dealer and 
has met with gratifying success in the business. 


On the 1st of November, 1894, Mr. IMontelius was married to ]\riss Clara 
Plank, who was born in Piper City, a daughter of J. B. Plank. She died in 
1896. and on the 26th of June, 1900, Mr. Moutelius was again married, his 
second union being with Anna F. Stadler, a native of this place and a daugh- 
ter of John Stadler. There are two children of this marriage: Charles H., 
born June 23, 1902; and Dorothy H., born March 28, 1907. 

In his political views IMr. IMontelius is an inflexible republican and for 
three terms has served as village trustee. His cooperation can always be 
counted upon to aid in the practical work of improving and upbuilding the 
village. He has attained high rank in Masonry and is a past master of Piper 
Lodge, No. 608, A. F. & A. ]\I. ; a past commander of St. Paul Commandery, 
No. 34, K. T., of Fairbury, while in Oriental Consistory, Chicago, he has 
attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite and is a member of Me- 
dinali Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He 
also belongs to Piper Lodge, No. 471, I. 0. 0. F., and to Piper Camp, No. 718, 
M. W. A. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Presby- 
terian church and as one of its elders he does all in his power to promote its 
growth and extend its influence. The members of the Montelius family need 
no introduction to the readers of this volume, for the sons have followed the 
example of their honored father and are enterprising, reliable business men, 
who accomplish what they inidertake and in that accomplishment follow meth- 
ods which neither seek nor require disguise. 


John Richardson, who is now living retired in Elliott is numbered among 
the large landowners of Ford county. He is also accounted one of the pioneer 
settlers of this section of the state, for in the last half century he has seen the 
county grow from a wild country with only a few white inhabitants, to a rich 
agricultural country, containing thousands of good homes and acres of growing 
towns. in]ial)ited by an industrious and prosperous people, and he has not only 
been an interested witness but an active participant in the slow, persistent work 
of development which was necessary to produce this wonderful change. 

Mr. Richardson was born in Liverpool, England, January 1, 1829, a son 
of John and Mary Ann (Kelly) Richardson, the former a farmer of England. 


The son acquired his edueation in the common schools of his native land and 
there remained until he had attained the age of fourteen years, when he accom- 
panied his parents on their emigration to Quebec, the family home being 
estal)lished in Quebec. Tie was there liound out to a mason and builder to 
learn the mason's trade. After completing his apprenticeship he went to 
Detroit, ]\Iichigan, where for a time he worked at his trade and then worked for 
a time in Flint, that state. In 1857 he made his way to Paxton, Ford county, 
but after residing there three years he removed to Ten Mile Grove and operated 
a rented farm for one year, subsequent to which time he removed to a farm which 
he had purchased in Wall township. This tract was originally in possession 
of the railroad company and after it came under control of our subject it was 
transformed into a fine tract which annually returned good crops as a reward 
for the care and labor he had bestowed upon it. As time passed and he pros- 
pered in his undertakings he increased the boundaries of his farm until he was 
in possession of five hundred acres of valuable land which he eventually traded 
for ten hundred and thirteen acres, situated near Paxton in Dix township. lie 
continued to carry on general agricultural pursuits until 1871, when he retired 
from active business life and took up his abode in the village of Elliott, occupy- 
ing the third house that was erected there. He still has extensive landed hold- 
ings, however, being the owmer of eighteen hundred acres of valuable land, 
nearly all of which is used for general farming purposes and which returns 
to him a good annual income which enables him now to spend the evening of 
his life in honorable retirement. 

Mr. Richardson established a home of his own l)y his marriage in 1856 
to Miss Sarah Simons, a daughter of Nathan Simons, who served as the first 
county clerk of Ford county. Their marriage has been blessed with five chil- 
dren, one son and four daughters, namely: Nathan, who resides on his 
father's farm; Florence, the wife of A. W. Barrow, a resident of Gibson City, 
by whom she has one son ; Pamelie, the wife of C. P. Wardell, a resident of 
Los x\ngeles, California, and the mother of two children ; Maud, the wife of 
Albert Keith, a resident of Chicago, by whom she has two children ; and Mary, 
the wife of 0. S. Hopkins, of Oakland, California. 

Mr. Richardson is a stalwart supporter of the democratic party and his 
religious faith is indicated by his membership in the United Brethren church. 
He is numbered among the honorable and honored i)ioneers of this section of 
the state and can relate in interesting manner incidents of the early days when 
deer and wolves were roaming over the prairies and when all kinds of wild 
game were plentiful. He takes great delight in the wonderful changes which 


have here oceiirred, transforming- Ford eoiinty into a prosperous district and 
through tlie cultivation of the soil has acquired the competence that now 
enables him at the age of seventy-nine years to live in well earned ease in a 
comfortable home in Elliott. 


Henry Raab is a worthy representative of one of the honored and respected 
pioneer families of this section of the state. He is now closely associated 
with agricultural interests in Ford county and also figures in financial circles 
as vice president of the Farmers State Bank of Cabery. He was born in 
]\Iorris, Grundy county, Illinois, May 9, 1863, his parents being George and 
Wilhelmina (Beaver) Raab, both of whom were natives of Germany. They 
came to the United States in early life and were married in Illinois. The 
father died upon the farm which is no^v the home of his son Henry, his death 
resulting from the kick of a colt, on the 4th of September, 1864, when he was 
but thirty-nine years of age. His wife, who was born in Germany, September 
20, 1827, crossed the Atlantic in 1856 and died in Cabery, February 13, 1897. 
After losing her first husband she became the wife of Carl Rusag. There 
were no children by the second marriage and by the first marriage there was 
a daughter, Mary, now the wife of Herman Christ, of Kankakee county. Illi- 
nois; and Henry. 

Henry Raab was only about a year old when his parents removed from 
Grundy county to Ford county and settled upon the farm which has since 
been his liome. Here he was reared and was early trained to the work of the 
fields, gaining intimate knowledge of the best methods of tilling the soil and 
caring for the crops. lie now owns two hundred and forty acres of land, all 
on section 20, Rogers townshij), wliich includes the eighty acres contained in 
the original Raab farm. All of the improvements upon the place have been 
made by our subject and tlie family. It was a ti'act of unl)roken prairie 
when tlie father came, and witli cliarficteristic (>nergy he ])egan to tui'ii llie fur- 
rows and ]ilant the fields, while Henry Haab aided more and more largely in 
the woi-k of the farm as his age and strength increased. Three years ago he 
erected his present dwelling, which is a substantial residence, and there are also 
other good 1)nildings upon the ])lace, indicative of the ])rogressive spirit of 
the owner, whose energy and diligence have been the resultant factors in his 



success. Aside from his farming interests he is now a director and the vice 
president of the Farmers State Bank of Cabery since its organization in ]003 
and he is also a director and secretary of the Kempton Farmers elevator. 

On the 17th of December, 1889, Mr. Raab was united in marriage to ]\Iiss 
Christina Ottmuller, who was born in Woodford county, Illinois, near El Paso, 
September 20, 1867, a daughter of Jacob and Jordena (Johnson) Ottmuller, 
who were natives of Germany, the former a native of Wittenberg and the lat- 
ter of Hanover. They were married, however, in Illinois and the father died 
in Cullom three years ago, at the age of seventy-eight years, while the mother 
still resides in Cullom. In their family were four children : Charles, who 
is living near Cullom ; ]\Irs. Raab ; Jacob, a resident of North Dakota ; and 
Chris, who is now living in ^lontana. Unto ]\Ir. and Mrs. Raab have been 
born four children, Jordena, George, Hattie and Frederick. 

Mr. Raab is a stalwart advocate of the republican party, doing all in his 
power to promote its growth and extend its influence. He is now serving for 
the third consecutive term as supervisor of Rogers township and his reelection 
is indicative of his fidelity and capability in office. He belong-s to the Lutheran 
church and is a man whose many excellent traits of character have won for him 
the respect of those with whom he has come in contact. He is loyal and 
progressive in citizenship, reliable and diligent in business, and true to the ties 
of friendship. Almost his entire life has been spent in Ford county and he 
has been a witness of its growth and upbuilding for forty-four years. 


Caleb IMcKeever is a retired farmer now living in Gibson City. He was 
born near Brand^^wine, Delaware, on the Sth of ]\Iay, 1825, and has therefore 
passed the eighty-third milestone on life's journey. A review of his record 
shows much that is commendable and indicates the value of energy and per- 
severance as factors in the accjuirement of success. His parents were William 
and Sarah (Harlan) McKeever, both natives of Chester county, Penns^'lvania, 
where they were married in 1812. The father was of Scotch extraction and 
.when a lad of fifteen years was one day sent by his parents for a jug of 
molasses but he hid the jug and ran away to sea, remaining for four years. 
On his return he looked for the jug but failed to find it. His experience on 
the ocean, however, had satisfied him with that life and thereafter his time 


and energies were devoted to general agricultural pursuits. After his marriage 
he removed with his family to Delaware. About 1828 he returned to Chester 
county, Pennsylvania, where he resided luitil 1833, when he removed to Urbana, 
Ohio, where he spent one year. He next located on a farm east of Urbana 
and while living there his wife died, in 1842, at the age of forty-six years, 
her remains being interred in the cemetery near her home. The father 
remained in Champaign county until 1867, when he went to Iowa, residing 
with a daughter until 1870. In that year he came to Ford county and made 
his home with his son Caleb until his demise, which occurred November 2:5. 
1874. His wife was a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. In 
political belief Mr. McKeever was a democrat. This worthy couple had a 
family of six children : John and Isaac, deceased ; INIargaret, the wife of D. 
Osborn ; Caleb, of this review ; Mary, the wife of William C. Buneutter ; and 
Ruth A., the wife of J. Spain. 

Caleb McKeever acquired his education by attending a district school for 
about three months in a year. The little "temple of learning" was a log 
building, the benches made out of slal:)s, while the desks were formed of slabs 
resting on wooden pins driven into the sides of the room. The curriculum 
was limited and the methods of instruction very primitive as compared witli 
the modes of teaching at the present time. The school teacher, too, usually 
had a belief in the old adage, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." When 
not busy with his text-books Caleb IMcKeever worked upon the home farm and 
his training in the labors of the fields was not meager. On attaining his 
majority he started out in life on his own account. His mother had died 
Avhen he was seventeen years of age. Early in manhood he began work by 
the month as a farm hand, working thus until twenty-seven years of age, when 
lie married ami established a home of his own. 

It was on the Gth of November, 1851, that Caleb IMcKeever wedded ]\Iiss 
Sarah E. Thompson, who was born in Chami)aigu county, Ohio, December 12, 
1826, and died October 3, 1903. They had traveled life's journey happily 
together for fifty-two A'ears. Mrs. McKeever was a daughter of John and 
Elizabeth (King) Thompson, the former born in Pennsylvania and of Scotch- 
Irish ancestry, while the mother was a native of County Armagh, Ireland, and 
came to America witli hci' parents when twelve years of age. They were mar- 
ried in Newville, Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, and to them were born 
nine children, all of whom have now passed away. They continued residents of 
Pennsylvani.i until 1820, when they removed to Champaign county, Ohio, and 
Mr. Thompson became a very successful and wealthy citizen of that com- 


inunity. He was also prumineiit and iiiliuontial in public affairs, took an 
active part in matters relating to the general welfare and for twenty-one years 
acceptably filled the office of justice of the peace. In politics he was a whig 
and afterward a republican and both he and his wife were devoted members 
of the Presbyterian church. 

]\Ir. and IMrs. McKeever were married in Champaign county, Ohio, and 
began their domestic life uj^on a farm in Logan county, where they made their 
home for ten years. They afterward removed to Sangamon county, Illinois, 
settling near Williamsville, where Mr. McKeever rented two hundred and sixty 
acres of land. This he cultivated until February,- 1864, when he bought two 
hundred and sixty acres of land in Ford county, where he has since made his 
home. He now owns two hundred and twenty acres of good land, well tiled, 
having given forty acres to his youngest son, who sold it for two thousand 
dollars and then bought eighty acres near Gil)son, for which he paid two thou- 
sand four hundred dollars, and to which he has added until his property inter- 
ests now include three hundred and twenty acres. The father's farm is one 
mile north and three miles west of Gibson City and is divided into fields, which 
are well fenced. Two of his fields contain fifty acres each, two contain 
twenty-five acres and two others contain thirty-five acres each. He has placed 
all of the improvements upon his land and made it a rich and valuable farm, 
known as one of the model farm properties of the locality. 

Unto Mr. and Mrs. McKeever were born six children: John, who is now 
engaged in the implement business in Urbana, Ohio; Samuel Alexander, who 
died at the age of eighteen months; Sarah Elizabeth, the wife of Dr. T. B. 
Stross, living with her father in Gibson ; "William, who resides upon a farm 
west of Gibson; and Stephen and James, both of whom died in infancy. 

Mr. McKeever cast his first presidential vote in Ohio for Lewis Cass and 
has been a stalwart supporter of the republican party since the Civil war. He 
has served as supervisor for one term and as school director for a niniiber of 
years. When he took up his abode in Drummer township there was no 
school within its borders, but the first year he and other public-spirited citi- 
zens built a good schoolhouse. They always employed the best teachers, paying 
seventy-five dollars per month — a very high wage at that time. There were 
no railroads through the district at that day and all the trading was done at 
Bloomington and at Paxton. Mr. McKeever relates many interesting inci- 
dents of the early days when this section of the state was largely undeveloped 
and unimproved. The farm machinery was very crude as compared with that 
in use at the present time and it is such citizens as Mr. McKeever who have 


made Ford county what it is today — one of the richest agricultural sections in 
this great state. His life has been well spent and in the evening of his days 
he can look back over the past without regret, for his many excellent traits 
of character have won for him the respect, good will and veneration of his 


Close application and unremitting industry are always essential elements 
of success and when guided by discriminating judgment they never fail to 
bring a satisfactory reward for labor. This is evidenced in the life of Fer- 
dinand Fricke, now a retired farmer and old settler of Ford county. He is 
now living in Sibley, deriving a large income from his farming interests. He 
was born in the province of Brandenburg, Germany, September 9, 1852, about 
fifteen miles east of Berlin, his parents being Carl D. and Caroline (Hamer- 
link) Fricke. 

Tlie father w^as a weaver b.y trade and his family removed to the province 
of Posen, Germany, where he remained until 1875. In that year he crossed 
the Atlantic and became a resident of McLean county, Illinois, where he turned 
his attention to general agricultural pursuits. As the years passed he suc- 
cessfully conducted his farming interests luitil 1897, when, having acquired a 
handsome competence, he retired to private life and removed to the town of 
Anchor, McLean county, where he died in 1900. His first wife, the mother 
of our subject, had passed away in 1882 and Mr. Fricke was afterward married 
to Mrs. Henrietta Steinleieht, who still survives him. Six of the children by 
his first marriage reached adult age, and of those who have passed away three 
died wftliin two days of cholera, which was then epidemic in the province of 
Posen. The others are: Augusta, the wife of F. Hoffman, of Anchor, 
Illinois; Carl, deceased; Ferdinand, whose name introduces this record; Gus- 
tave, a resident of Anchor, Illinois; and Pauliiui. the wife of F. Gerbrock, of 

Ferdinand Fricke was educated in the province of Pos(>n and at the age 
of nineteen years came to America. He has since 1872 made his home in Ford 
county and during the early years of his residence lu'i'e worked as a farm hand 
in the employ of IVIr. Sidliviiiit, then one of the most ])ronn'iient landowners of 
this part of the state. lie coiitinuetl in his employ for two years, after which 


he cultivated land which he rented from Mr. Sullivant for two years. In the 
meantime he carefully saved his earnings and in 18S0 felt justified in the pur- 
chase of eighty acres of the old Sullivant farm on section 19, Sullivant township, 
in the northwestern part of the county, for which he paid twenty-two hundred 
and fifty dollars. The land was unimproved and IMr. Fricke had to erect all 
of the buildings and do all of the work, whereby this tract was converted into 
rich and productive fields. Year after year his labors were carefully conducted 
until 1891, when he sold the land, for which he received seventy dollars per 
acre. He had in the meantime erected a fine residence and made other sub- 
stantial improvements there. Following the sale of the property he removed to 
McLean county, where he purchased one hundred and seventy acres, for which 
he gave seventy dollars per acre. This land lies on section 3, Anchor township 
and is splendidly equipped with a comfortable dwelling, barns, cribs and sheds. 
It is well tiled and the soil is naturally productive and Mr. Fricke could easily 
sell for two hundred dollars per acre. In addition to this property he owns one 
hundred and twenty acres in Wall township, Ford county, which he purchased 
in 1903 for one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre. This farm is also 
excellently improved in every respect. He purchased his present home in Sib- 
ley in 1905, having here a two-story residence of nine rooms, for which he paid 
forty-five hundred dollars. When he first came to the county it was practi- 
call}^ an unimproved district and there was not a house uj^on the road between 
Gibson and his place. 

On the 2d of March, 1876, Mr. Fricke was married to Miss Marie Schepple- 
man, a daughter of Louis and Caroline (Lidiekie) Scheppleman, who were 
natives of Germany and became residents of St. Louis in 185-4. They were 
married in that city and thence removed to Pekin, Illinois, residing in Tazewell 
county for ten years, while in 1868 they became residents of Ford county, set- 
tling in the northwestern part of the county. Few roads had been laid out 
and no bridges had been built. Mr. Scheppleman had two neighbors-who lived 
not far distant but other settlements were four or five miles away. There were 
various kinds of wild animals which infested the districts, including wolves, 
bears, wildcats and coons. There were many deer and various kinds of feath- 
ered game. Mr. Scheppleman did not at first purchase land but rented land until 
1875, when he bought eighty acres near Fairbury. This was slightly improved 
and he paid thirty-six dollars per acre for it. Subsequently he sold it for about 
the same price and then purchased three hundred and sixty acres in Sullivant 
township, which was entirely unimproved, being simply raw prairie land With 
characteristic energy he began its development and cultivation and it is now one 


of the best farms of the county worth two hundred doHars per acre. He died 
upon this place in 1897, while his wife survived him until 1902. They were 
the parents of ten children, of whom six are yet living, namely: Marie, now 
Mrs. Fricke ; Christ, a resident of East Lynn, Illinois ; Louis, also of Illinois ; 
Henry, who makes his home in Sibley ; Charles, who resides on the old home 
farm ; and Rudolph, also of Ford county. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fricke became the parents of seven children, as follows : 
Louie, a "resident of Melvin ; Annie, the wife of Lambert Brithorse. of Ford 
county; Charley, who makes his home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois; Frederick, of 
Anchor, Illinois; William, of Bloomington, this state; and Marie and Emanuel, 
both at home. Mr. and Mrs. Fricke belong to the German Lutheran church 
and Mr. Fricke is a member of Columbian Lodge, I. 0. 0. F. He has taken 
quite an active interest in politics, serving in McLean county as township col- 
lector of Anchor township for one term, while at present he is alderman in 
Sibley. He was also a school director in Anchor township for a number of 
years. The cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. 

In politics he is a republican, believing that its platform contains the best 
elements of good government. As time has passed he has worked on steadily 
and persistently year after year, adding to his cai)ital continually until now 
in the possession of a handsome competence he finds it unnecessary to continue 
the active Avork of the farm, for his income is sufficient to supply all his wants. 
He nuiy well be proud of the success which he has achieved, as it is said that 
ninety-five per cent of the men who enter business life never gain prosperity 
and yet the road to success is open to all. Mr. Fricke had the perseverance 
to continue therein and he based his business principles and actions upon the 
rules which govern strict and unswerving integrity and industry. 


John Meikle, whose death on the 1st of March, 188G, deprived Piper City 
of one of its esteemed and valued residents, was born in Edinburgh, Scot- 
land, about 1837. He was left an orphan at an early age and went to live 
with his father's brother. At the age of fifteen he became a resident of Wau- 
pun, Wisconsin, with his uncle Robert and for ten years remained a resident 
of the Badger state. 


During that period INIr. IMeikle was married, in Wisconsin, in 1861, to 
Miss Elizabeth Entwistle, who was born in Liverpool, England, June 1, 1843, 
and was only four months old when her parents crossed the Atlantic to tlie 
new world, establishing their home in Wisconsin, where she resided until her 
marriage. Her parents were James and Jane (Draper) Entwistle, natives 
of Bolton, England, who lived for a considerable period in Wisconsin but died 
in Ford county, Illinois. After losing his wife, the father made his liome with 
his daughter, Mrs. Meikle, passing away at the very venerable age of ninety- 
six years. Both he and his wife were of French lineage. By his first mar- 
riage Mr. Entwistle had two children and by a latter marriage had four 
children, IMrs. Meikle being the only daughter of the second marriage. 

Mr. and Mrs. Meikle began their domestic life in Wisconsin, where they 
remained for about two years, and then removed to Peoria in 1863. Three 
years were there passed, after which they took up their abode in Chatsworth, 
Livingston county, Illinois, in 1866. In 1870 they came to Ford county, set- 
tling on a farm in Brenton township, where Mr. Meikle carried on general agri- 
cultural pursuits for about ten years, having two hinidred and twenty acres 
of land, which he cultivated and improved, making it a valuable farm. At 
length he sold that land and bought a tract of land of one hundred and sixty 
acres a mile south of Piper City, where he resided up to the time of his death. 
Throughout his entire life he carried on general agricultural pursuits and 
prospered in his undertakings. He developed the present fine farm which is 
now the property of his widow, placed good buildings upon it and added all 
modern improvements and accessories. In addition to cultivating the cereals 
best adapted to the soil and climate he made a specialty of raising draft horses, 
both Percheron and Norman, and was the owner of some very fine stock. He 
took a great interest in fine horses and exhibited at various fairs where lie 
carried otf many premiums. 

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Meikle were born four children: George, now living 
at Kiester, Minnesota ; Maggie, the wife of A. Kiplinger of Piper City ; Jennie, 
at home; and John, who is living upon the old homestead farm in Brenton 

In his political views Mr. IMeikle was a stalwart republican, interested iu 
the growth and success of the party. He held some school and road offices 
and was most loyal in citizenship, doing everything in his power to promote 
the welfare and upbuilding of his community. He held membership in the 
Presbyterian church and lived an upright, consistent Christian life, winning 
for him the warm regard of all with whom he came iu contact. In his busi- 


ness, too, he was energetic, diligent and reliable, and in addition to his home 
place of one hnndred and sixty acres in Brenton township he owned three hun- 
dred and twenty acres of land in Livingston county. He possessed many of 
the sterling characteristics of the Scotch people and his death Avas an occasion 
of deep and wide-spread regret, for he had many friends in the county. 

For about eighteen years INIrs. ]\Ieikle has now resided in Piper City, where 
she owns a pleasant and well kept home. She also has good income property, 
including a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Brenton township which 
she received from her father's estate. She has a wide and favorable aecjuain- 
tance in the community and the hospitality of many of the best homes is 
cordiallv extended to her. 


L. D. Jackson is and has been connected with so many important interests 
of the county as to be recognized as one of its leading citizens, closely associated 
with those interests which have promoted its upbuilding and formulated its 
policy. He was born in Dearborn county. Indiana, September 17, 1864, and 
is a son of William and Delia Jackson, who were likewise natives of the same 
county and are still living there. The father has always followed farming, 
employing that as a source of livelihood. Unto Mr. and ]\Irs. Jackson were 
born four sons and two daughters, namely : Charles A., a resident of ]\Ian- 
chester, Indiana; L. D., of this review; Warren T. and Thomas J., both 
residents of Ford county; Tinnie, the wife of Joseph Kirkwood, of Osburn, 
Ohio; and Lulu, the wife of Nathan Griggs, of Manchester, Indiana. 

As boy and youth L. D. Jackson became familiar with the work of the 
farm, aiding his father in the cultivation and improvement of the fields until 
after he had attained his majority. He attended the common schools and 
thus acquired a fair knowledge of the English branches of learning. When 
he had reached man's estate lie rented one of his father's farms and for three 
years continued its cultivation, when he sought a home in Ford county, Illi- 
nois, and for three years cultivated rented land. During this period he care- 
fully saved his earnings, and his wise expenditure and untiring industry 
hrouglit him the capital that enabled him to invest in property. He then 
bought one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 14, Brenton township, 
and began its improvement by tiling and adding other necessar^^ and modern 


equipments. He has erected good buildings, has utilized the latest improved 
machinery in carrying on the work of the farm and has today a tine property, 
presenting a splendid appearance in its well tilled fields and substantial build- 
ings. Mr. Jackson is also secretary of the Forld County Fair and Driving 
Association and a director of the Bell Union Telephone Company, No. 1. 

In his political views Mr. Jackson is an earnest democrat and desiring the 
success of the party has labored in local fields for its advancement. Since 
1899 he has served as assesor, being continued in the office through reelection. 
He is also a commissioner of the drainage ditch and for five years has been 
chairman of the democratic committee. 

In 1886 occurred the marriage of L. D. Jackson and Miss Emma J. Judd, 
Avho was born in Dearborn county, Indiana, in 1863, a daughter of Orin and 
Mary Jane Judd, who were likewise natives of that state but are both now 
deceased. ]\Irs. Judd was one of five children and by her marriage has 
become the mother of two sons, Orin AV. and Charles E., the former now a 
pupil in the high school of Piper City. 

Mr. Jackson belongs to that class of men who have realized that success 
is not an unattainable thing and also understands the fact that it is acquired 
only through diligence and indefatigable labor. He has worked persistently 
and his labors have been crowned with a measure of success that makes him 
one of the substantial agriculturists of his part of the county. 


E. F. Duckworth, engaged in the hardware and lumber business at Cabery, 
owning an equal interest with Mr. Keighin in a large and well selected stock 
of goods, is a young man of marked enterprise, of tireless energy, of keen 
perception and honesty of purpose. He was born in Iro(|uois county, Illinois, 
January 21, 1870, his parents being Richard and Susan Duckworth, who were 
natives of the state of New York. Removing westward, they settled in Ken- 
dall county, Illinois, in 1863 and are now residents of Iroquois county. They 
became the parents of three children, of whom E. M. Duckworth is the eldest, 
his brothers, Austin and William, twins, being yet at home. 

E. F. Duckworth was also reared under the parental roof and is indebted 
to the pul)lic-scho()l system of Illinois for the educational privileges which he 
enjoyed and to the Grand Mercer Seminary. Lessons of industry, integrity 


and enterprise were also impressed upon his mind by his parents in his youth 
and after he had attained his majority he became a feature in business cir- 
cles, purchasing a hardware store at Herscher, where he continued in business 
for three years. On the expiration of that period he sold out and came to 
Cabery, where he purchased a half interest in the hardware and lumber busi- 
ness of ]\lr. Keighin. They have an excellent trade, which is constantly 
increasing, and in their business interests they are methodical, systematic and 

On the 9th of January, 1901, "Sir. Duckworth was married to ]\Iiss Caro- 
line jMusson. whose parents are now residents of Watseka, Illinois. ]\Irs. 
Duckworth is their only surviving child and by her marriage she has become 
the mother of one daughter, Lima Margaret. The parents are consistent and 
helpful members of the Presbyterian church and ]Mr. Duckworth belongs to 
the Odd Fellows lodge at Herscher, while both he and his wife are connected 
with the Rebekah degree. In politics he is a republican, interested in the 
growth and success of the party. His business success is largely due to the 
fact that in their business the firm aim at high standard in the character of 
the goods which they carry and in their service to the public and meet compe- 
tition in a rivalry of merit rather than in a war of prices. Their business, too, 
is permeated by a spirit of courtesy, thoroughness, enthusiasm, energy and 


The name of Peter Wagner is so closely associated with the liistory of 
Cabery, its progress and upbuilding, as to render it imperative that mention 
be made of him in this connection. He was a man of marked enterprise and 
strength of purpose, of keen discernment and of public spirit, and while pro- 
moting his individual success he also contributed in substantial measure to the 
general welfare. Moreover, there was not an esoteric phase in liis career but 
on the contrary his methods were such as neither sought nor required disguise 
l:)ut would bear the closet investigation. 

Mr. AVagner was born in Ti-icr cily in the Rliinc province of Germany, in 
1843, and arrived in Ford county in 1863 when a young man of twenty years 
to join his older brother. Upon reaching his destination, however, he found 
that his brother had been drafted for service in the Civil war. ]\Ir. Wagner, 


wlio \vas then single, decided that he had better go in place of his brother, who 
was married and had a family. Accordingly he immediately joined the army 
and left for the south. He did not understand a word of English and felt 
handicapped and embarrassed, so he bought a dictionary and at once began 
to study the language. The regiment to which he belonged was assigned to 
duty with Sherman's army and while with that command JMr. Wagner became 
ill of malaria and was sent to the hospital in Chicago, where he remained until 
the close of the war. The spirit of unselfishness which he displayed in taking 
his brother's place was ever one of his marked characteristics and won for 
him in large measure the warm regard of those with whom he was associated. 

When the war was over Mr. Wagner returned to Ford county and devoted 
his life to farming and other business pursuits. ITis investments were .judi- 
ciously made, his business interests were carefully conducted and his enterprise 
and diligence were the salient characteristics of his success. He left a fine 
estate on the county line of Ford and Kankakee counties, comprising one hun- 
dred and sixty acres, constituting the northeast quarter of section 17, Rogers 
township and sixty acres across the road in Norton township, Kankakee county. 
He brought his land under a high state of cultivation, transforming his land 
into rich and productive fields which were carefully operated and brought him 
a gratifying annual income. When the Illinois Central Railroad was built 
through, by making to the company a heavy donation, he induced them to build 
a station where Cabery now stands on the Kankakee side. He then platted 
his land and erected a number of buildings and assisted in many ways to found 
the town and establish it upon a growing basis. He built the Cabery Tile & 
Brick Works and was the pioneer tile manufacturer in the Panhandle of Ford 
county. He was also the first to lay tile and promote the drainage and work 
which has been of inestimable value to Ford county, for thus much low and 
swampy land has been reclaimed for the purposes of cultivation and is today 
rich agricultural property, contributing in substantial measure to the pros- 
perity of this part of the state. 

After his military service had ended Mr. Wagner returned to Germany, 
where he was married to Miss Anna Bosen, to whom he had become betrothed 
in his youth. She was a native of Trier city, of the Rhine province, and fol- 
lowing their marriage Mr. Wagner returned with his bride to the United States 
and spent his remaining days in Cabery with the exception of two years passed 
in Chicago. He died in Cabery in 1892, when in the fiftieth year of his age, 
and his wife survived him for about nine years, passing away in 1901 in her 
fifty-fourth year. She was one of a family of eleven children, ten of whom 


are yet living", and IMr. AVagner was one of a family of three children. Unto 
them were born three sons and two daughters : John, now a resident of Kan- 
kakee; Anna, the wife of ^Matt Seiwert, of Chicago; Kate, the wife of Fred 
Schneider, of Kankakee; Peter N., who resides at the old home in Cabery and 
manages the estate ; and Frank, at home. 

Mr. Wagner was a man of marked enterprise and i)ublic spirit, whose 
cooperation could always be counted upon to further any movement that 
tended to promote the welfare or advance the interests of Cabery and the 
county. He was liberal in his donations to all public movements of this char- 
acter. His own home in Cabery was a large, fine dwelling in the west part 
of the town, a portion of his farm lying within the corporation limits of the 
village. Upon the place were also good outbuildings and all of the equipments 
of a model farm. In his political views Mr. Wagner was a stalwart demo- 
crat and filled all of the village offices, being unanimously elected president of 
the village. No trust reposed in him was ever betrayed in the slightest degree 
and on the contrary his life record furnishes a splendid example for emula- 
tion, because of his reliability and progressiveness in citizenship, his trust- 
worthiness in business and his devotion to the ties of home and friendship. 

Peter N. Wagner, to whom we are indel)ted for the sketch of his father, 
is living upon the farm where he was born, Jidy 21, 1880. He has always 
followed agricultural pursuits and is accounted one of the progressive and ener- 
getic young men of Caliery. As a voter he is a republican,' giving loyal sup- 
port to that party and is now serving as one of the village trustees. 


Andrew Jordan, one of the earliest settlers of Ford county and one of her 
most successful farmers, was the owner of eight hundred and eighty acres of 
very fine land, his home being situated on section 18. Dnniimcr township. A 
man of enterprising and progressive spirit, he l)r()iight his farm under a high 
state of cultivation, placing therecm excellent buildings aiul nuuiy substantial 

Mr. Jordan was l)()rn near Louisville, Kentucky, August 28, 1828, his parents 
being William aiul Lovica, (Brooks) Jordan, both of wlioni were natives of 
Virginia and located in Kentucky about 1818. A few years later they removed 
to Monroe county, near Gosport, Indiana, where they spent the remainder of 


their lives. The father died about 1855 and the mother about 1849. By 
occupation he was a farmer and ever folhnved tliat business for a livelihood. 
Both he and his wife were adherents of the Baptist church and his political 
allegiance was given to the democracy. 

Our subject was fifth in order of birth in a family of twelve children. He 
received but a limited education and remained with his parents until he had 
attained his majority, when he started out in life for himself. With a horse 
and fifteen dollars in money, he located near Virginia, Cass county, Illinois, and 
began work as a farm hand, receiving thirteen dollars per month. In the fall 
of 1850. he returned to Indiana and after a short time went to Bloomington, 
Illinois, where he worked for about six months. He then became a resident of 
Cass county, Illinois, where he was engaged as a farm hand. Once more he 
returned to Indiana and subsequently located in Champaign county, Illinois, 
having purchased one hundred acres of land. A year later, however, he ex- 
changed farms with his father-in-law, receiving eighty acres, which ]Mr. Devore 
had entered from the government. 

Mr. Jordan was married, on the 30th of November, 1852, to IMiss Amanda 
Devore, who was born near Gosport, Owen county, Indiana, March 16, 1835, a 
daughter of Nicholas and Polly (Hartzog) Devore, who were of German lineage. 
Tliey were also members of the Christian church, and in politics Mr. Devore was 
a stalwart republican. Immediately after their marriage our subject and liis 
wife settled on their farm in Champaign county, but in March, 1854, came to 
Ford county. From time to time he added to his possessions until he became the 
owner of eleven hundred acres, but afterward sold a portion of it and at the 
time of his death owned eight hundred and eighty acres of valuable land. He 
also owned and operated one of the largest brick and tile works in the county 
and, in connection with his farming, raised a fine grade of horses and cattle. 
His well directed labor and untiring perseverance brought to him a most grati- 
fying measure of success as the years went by and he was widely recognized as a 
prosperous and influential citizen of the community. In the early days of his 
residence in this county he underwent all the hardships and trials of frontier 
life. The first home of the family was a log cabin, and they did their first corn 
planting under trying circumstances. Mr. Jordan would take the baby (their 
son William) in his arms and plow for a time, while his wife would drop the 
corn. At length he fixed a box on top of the plow and, placing the little fellow 
in that, resumed his work. IMarkets were far distant, and Paxton, Loda, 
Elliott, Gibson, IMelvin and Sibley, all now thriving towns, were not then laid 
out. They saw the introduction of all the railroads in this part of the county 


and were eye witnesses of much of the growtli and development of this 

Five children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Jordan : William, who has been 
identified Avith farming in Sibley; James, who carries on general agricultural 
pursuits on section 24. Drummer township ; John, a successful farmer and tile 
manufacturer, residing on section 24, Drummer township ; Lizzie, the wife of Dr. 
Campbell ; and Charles, who cultivates three hundred and twenty acres of land 
on section 24, Drummer township, a part of his father's estate. 

The parents were people of benevolent disposition, holding membership 
with the Christian church in Gibson and taking an active interest in its work. 
Church and Sunday school were held in their home and that of their neighbors 
in the early days. In the fall of 1890 IMr. Jordan donated two hundred and 
twenty thousand brick for the beautiful church edifice in which he worshiped 
and which stands as a monument to his benevolence. In 1861 the first township 
and the first presidential elections in Drummer township were held in his home. 

]\Ir. Jordan was tli,e first supervisor of Drummer township, which office he 
filled for two years, and was recognized as one of the most honored and promi- 
nent citizens of the county. In the faithful discharge of his duties and every 
trust reposed in him, he won the confidence and high regard of all and when he 
was called to his final rest on the 28th day of June, 1901, the county mourned 
the loss of one of its worthy and respected pioneers. 


Thomas Reynolds is the owner of an excellent farm of two hundred and 
forty acres situated alxiut a (piarter of a mile west of Guthrie in Dix township 
and his life is devoted to its further development and improvement with the 
result that he has made it a valuable property, from which he annually derives 
a gratifying income. He was born near Russellville, Kentucky, in 1843. His 
parents, AVilliam and Elizabeth (Edgar) Reynolds, are l)otli now deceased. The 
father was a fanner of Kentucky and died in that state when his son Thomas 
was but six years of age. The mother long survived and passed away in 1901 
at the age of eighty-five years. Tlieir fainil\' luimbered six children : P. F., 
wlio is now living in Kansas; ]\Iary, who is living with her sister, P. F. ; Joseph, 
deceased; Thomas, of this review; Joseph, the second of the name, who has 
also passed away; and Klizabeth, deceased. 


Thomas Reynolds was a, youth of about eleven years when he came to 
Illinois with his mother in 1854, the family home being established in Logan 
county, where he acquired his education as a pupil in the district school. He 
started out in life on his own account at the age of twenty-three years and has 
since been dependent entirely upon his own resources. He was married in 
1869 to Miss Malinda J. Sumner, a daughter of Norman Sumner, a farmer of 
Logan county, who is now deceased, as is his wife. 

In the year of his marriage Mr. Reynolds removed to Ford county and 
settled a quarter of a mile west of Guthrie on section 30, Dix township. He 
had in 1867 purchased one hundred and sixty acres of laud here and later 
he bought eighty acres more, so that he now owns two hundred and forty acres 
in all. Here he follows general farming and is accounted one of the progres- 
sive and wide-aw^ake agriculturists of the community. In the midst of his 
place stands a nice farm residence facing Guthrie, the village being only a 
quarter of a mile to the east, while the Illinois Central Railroad passes just 
south of the house, extending in a southwesterly direction. Everything about 
the place is kept in excellent condition and the neat and thrifty appearance 
of the farm indicates the careful supervision and untiring efforts of the owner. 
He has put all of the improvements upon the place and has tiled the laud, mak- 
ing it very productive. It was very wet when it came into his possession and 
for it he paid only eight dollars per acre but it is now classed with the fine 
farms of this rich agricultural section. 

Unto ]\Ir. and ]\Irs. Reynolds have been born six children : William, who 
married Amanda Duclos and is living in Kankakee, Illinois ; Robert and Frank, 
at home; Ora, Effie and Fannie, who are also at home. The children have 
been provided with excellent educational advantages. William and Robert 
were students in the Northern Indiana Normal College at Valparaiso, which 
Frank also attended, while later he was graduated on the completion of a busi- 
ness course at Dixon, Illinois. Ora is a graduate of the Gibson high school 
and attended the Normal School for two summers. Effie likewise graduated 
from the Gibson high school, and Fannie completed a course there in the sum- 
mer of 1908. 

Mr. Reynolds has always been loyal in citizenship and at the time of the Civil 
war enlisted in 1864 as a member of Company D, One Hundred and Forty-fifth 
Illinois Infantry, in Logan county, remaining with that command until hon- 
orably discharged in September of the same year. Ilis political allegiance has 
always been given to the republican party and he keeps well informed on the 
questions and issues of the day. He has served as school trustee for eight years 


and also as road cominissioner, yet has never been a politician in the sense of 
office seeking. Both he and his Avife are members of the Christian church and 
the family is highly esteemed in the community? the hospitality of the best 
homes being freely accorded them. 


In a history of the representative men of Ford county who have contributed 
to its development and substantial progress and who through intelligently 
directed labor have achieved success, mention should be made of Nathan Miller 
Higgins, who departed this life on the 10th of March, 1907. He was uniformly 
respected, not alone because of the success he achieved b^^t also by reason of 
the honorable, straightforward methods which he ever followed. 

His birth occurred in Huntington, Massachusetts, October 29, 1845, and 
he was one of a family of twelve children, three of whom died in infancy or 
early childhood. He lost his father when about ten years of age and was 
left an orphan by his mother's death when he was a youth of fifteen. He 
remained a resident of INIassachusetts to the age of eighteen years, when he 
started for the middle west, settling at Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he was 
employed in a store for about two years. From there he w^ent to St. Louis, 
Missouri, and in the fall of 1866 joined his 1)rother Prentice at Elmwood, Illi- 
nois, and worked as a farm hand in liis brother's employ until the fall of 

That date witnessed his arrival in Ford county. He investigated the farm 
property for sale and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, to which 
he removed the following spring, making his home tliereafter in this county 
until he Avas called to liis final rest. Later he added to the original tract until 
he became the owner of two hundred and forty acres on section 34, Brenton 
township. He made all of the improvements on the first tract but the eighty 
acre tract which he purchased was somewhat improved when it came into his 
possession. He regarded real estate as the safest of all investments and there- 
fore placed his money in property. The home farm was brought under a 
high state of cultivation through his energy and diligence and as his financial 
resources increased he added to his property from time to time until he acquired 
three other farms in this vicinity, two of eighty acres and one of one hundred 
and sixty acres. He likewise invested in a half section of land in South 





Dakota and later an additional quarter section, and thus from his property 
interests derived a gratifying income. He was also stockholder in and secre- 
tary and treasurer of tlie Thawville tile factory for a number of years. 

On the 12tli of March, 1872, Mr. Higgins was married to Miss Mary Jane 
IMosher, who was born near Fonda, New York, November 25, 1849, and was 
brought to the middle west at the age of six years by her parents, Alexander 
and Elizabeth (McLaughlin) ]\Iosher, who were natives of New York and on 
removing to Illinois settled at Elmwood. In 1877 they came to Ford county 
and took up their abode one mile south of the farm upon which Mrs. Higgins 
resides. There the death of the husband and father occurred, after which 
the other members of the family removed to Roberts. Unto Mr. and I\lrs. 
Higgins were born six children : ]\Iary Elizabeth, the wife of William Gard- 
ner of Fisher; Charles, living at home with his mother; Nathan Le Roy, a 
resident of Chicago; Aleck Prentice, Effie Estella and Milo Edwin, all at 

In his political views Mr. Higgins was a stalwart republican and held 
some school offices but otherwise did not care for political preferment although 
he was loyal to the principles in which he believed. He was a man of domes- 
tie tastes, quiet and retiring in disposition, devoted to his family, his interest 
centering in his home. He was a self-made man and owed his success to his 
close application and unremitting diligence. He 'always rose very early to 
attend to his business and the story of his early rising became proverbial in 
the neighborhood. On one occasion several farmers of the neighborhood pur- 
chased nursery stock together and it was delivered at Onarga, about eleven 
miles from Mr. Higgins' home. One of the neighbors, who has also been a 
purchaser of the stock, thought to himself, "I'll get ahead of him once by going 
early to Onarga. I will draw the shades that he may not see the light and 
will think that I am still sleeping." He carried out his plan of rising early 
but when he got half way to Onarga he met Mr. Higgins on his way home 
with the trees. He still persisted, however, that the joke was partly on Mr. 
Higgins because he had wandered two miles out of his way. In those early 
days there were no regularly laid out roads so that it was not a difficult thing 
for a traveler to wander from the path. Mr. Higgins was never neglectful 
of duty but on the contrary did ably and well everything that he undertook 
and as the years passed he gained a gratifying measure of prosperity. 

With his wife he spent two winters in Florida and one in Texas for the 
benefit of his health but death claimed him on the 10th of March, 1907, when 
he was in his sixty-second year. His life record is in many respects worthy 


of emulation as it indicates what may be accomplished when one has determi- 
nation and energy. It was those qualities which made I\Ir. Higgins one of tin; 
representative farmers of Brenton township and Ford county, while the 
straightforward business principles which he advocated gained for him the 
respect of his fellowmen. He was always straiglitforward in his dealings and 
just in his relations and, moreover, he possessed a kindly spirit, which was 
particularly manifest at his own fireside. 


Rev. Robert McCracken, a pioneer of Paxton, devoted many years of his 
life to the active work of the ministry and, moreover, was a most successful 
business man, his life record standing in emphatic contradiction of the state- 
ment made by many that business success and honesty are incompatible. He 
became one of the largest landowners of Ford comity and yet throughout his 
entire business career he was regarded as the soul of commercial honor and 
integrity. His memory is indeed sacredly cherished in the hearts of those 
who knew him and remains as a blessed benediction to his family and his many 
friends who survive him. 

Rev. Robert McCracken was born in Castlewellyn, County Dow^n, Ireland, 
in the year 1815. Early in life his parents dedicated him to the ministry 
and much of his boyhood was spent away from home in attending school. In 
1844 he was graduated from the Royal College of Belfast, Ireland, and after 
preaching one of his trial sermons before a presbytery in his native land with 
his parents as interested and appreciative listeners he left home for America, 
arriving in this country in the spring of 1845 to devote his life to ministerial 
labor in the new world. His first pastorate was at Austintown, Ohio, where 
he accepted a call from the Reformed Presbyterian church, commonly called 
New School Covenanter. He was there installed May 29, 1848, and continued 
his pastoral labors at Austintown until 1851, when he accepted a call from the 
Reformed Presbyterian cliurch at Wurtemburg, Pennsylvania, where he labored 
for tlie upbuilding of the congregation until 1857. 

That year witnessed llic arrival of Rev. jMcCracken in Illinois. He became 
pastor of the Walnut Hill congregation near Centralia and in 1860 came to 
this part of the state, filling various pulpits prior to accepting the call of the 
United Presbyterian congregation at Paxton. He removed with his family to 


this city early in 1861. The congregation at that time numbered only seven- 
teen but at the first communion seventeen new members were received. Rev. 
MeCracken continued as pastor of the congregation until April, 1865, when he 
was succeeded by Rev. J. E. Truesdale. In the meantime the membership of 
the church had largely increased, seventy-five new members being added at the 
last two conmiunions at which Rev. MeCracken presided. This was his last 
pastoral charge and yet his interest in the church never waned. He was 
tliroughout life an active factor in all those movements for reform, progress 
and improvement and for the amelioration of hard conditions of life for the 

Soon after coming to Paxton. at the earnest solicitation of friends, Rev. 
MeCracken consented to become a candidate for the office of county superin- 
tendent of schools and was elected, serving for two years, during which time 
he did important service in establishing the public-school system of Ford 
county upon an excellent basis. The cause of public instruction ever found 
in him a stalwart champion and for several years he did effective work in 
behalf of Paxton 's schools as a member of the board of education. He was 
also one of the promoters of the Rice Collegiate Institute and gave to it his 
earnest support until failing health in large measure compelled him to retire 
from activitj in public affairs. In antebellum daj^s he was a stanch advocate 
of abolition and took an active interest in politics at that time when every 
true American citizen was aroused to express his views concerning the great 
issues that dominated public attention prior to the Civil war. He joined the 
republican party on its organization and remained one of its stalwart cham- 
pions throughout the residue of his days. He was also greatly interested in 
the cause of temperance and threw the energies of his mind and soul against 
the licensing of saloons, contributing largely through his influence toward the 
creation of the temperance sentiment in Paxton in earlier days. For four 
years he was a resident of Hoopeston but returned to Paxton and continued 
to reside here until his death. He remained a member of the United Pres- 
byterian church until after his return to Paxton. when he and his family 
became members of the Congregational church. 

On the 29th day of May, 1849, Rev. Robert IMcCracken was married to 
Miss Elizabeth C. Hogg, of Canfield, Ohio, who was ever a true helpmate, a 
wise counselor and a comforting companion to him. They became the parents 
of ten children, four of whom died in childhood, three of the number passing 
away within three weeks. The others are: David P., Robert A. and Mrs. 
Elizabeth Thompson, who are residents of Paxton; Mrs. T. J\I. Kell, of Los 


Angeles, California; G. Ewing, of Bloomfield, Indiana; and Mrs. Frances W. 
Best, of Waj^nesburg, Pennsylvania. He was devoted to his family and at 
his own fireside was ever a loving husband and fond father, interested in all 
that interested his children and putting forth every effort possible for their 
welfare and happiness. 

In his business life Rev. i\IcCracken won a gratifying measure of success. 
During his residence in Iloopeston he was engaged in merchandising but his 
time and attention were largely given to his investments in realty and his farm- 
ing interests. He became one of the most extensive landowners of central 
Illinois, purchasing farm after farm of the rich prairie land until his posses- 
sions aggregated more than four thousand acres. In all of his business 
transactions he was thoroughly reliable, never being known to take advantage 
of the necessities of another in a business transaction. His success came to 
him because of his sound judgment, his keen sagacity, his unflagging enter- 
prise and unabating diligence. During the last two years of his life he was 
in ill health but his mental faculties remained unimpaired and but a few days 
prior to his death he transacted some business with one of his tenants. 

On the 4th of November, 1904, he passed away, having lived to complete 
nearly nine decades. He ever stood in support of what he deemed to be 
right in man's relations with his fellowmen, giving his aid and influence in 
support of the great movements affecting the welfare and progress of state an'l 
nation and at the same time neglecting not those quieter duties of the every- 
day relations of life — the little kindly ministries to family and friends, the 
word of encouragement and wise counsel and the substantial aid — when such 
was needed. It was these things which causes the memory of Rev. Robert 
McCracken to be cherished by all who knew him. 



Charles A. Jordan, who cultivates a good farm of three hundred and twenty 
acres on section 24, Drummer township, a part of liis father's estate, is a 
representative of one of the old and prominent families of Ford county. He 
was born in this county, February 3, 1859. About five years before his father, 
Andrew Jordan, had settled here, having, however, previously lived for a time 
in Cass and Champaign counties. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, August 
28, 1828, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. He was reared to the occupation of 


farming and throughout his entire life followed that pursuit. On leaving the 
south, lie took up his abode in Cass county, Illinois, where he resided for a time 
and later removed to Champaign county, where he made his home until coming 
to Ford county in March, 1854. He found a district here largely wild and 
unimproved and with its early development and progress was closely associated. 
He first purchased one hundred acres of land but to this added from time to time 
as his financial resources increased until he became the owner of eleven hundred 
acres. A part of this he sold prior to his death, owning, however, at the time 
of his demise eight hundred acres of rich and valuable Illinois farm land. He 
was a man of resourceful business ability and did not confine his efforts entirely 
to agricultural pursuits but also became identified with the industrial interests, 
owning the largest brick and tile factory in this part of the county. He gave 
two hundred thousand brick to the church in which he worshiped. He was 
interested in all that pertained to the material and moral development of the 
community and his influence was ever found on the side of right and progress. 

In the district schools at Wantwood Charles A. Jordan pursued his educa- 
tion to the age of seventeen years, after which he devoted his entire time to work 
upon his father's farm. He had previously received training in that line of 
activity through the assistance which he had rendered in the development of the 
fields in the periods of vacation. Having reached man's estate, he chose as a 
companion and helpmate for life's journey Miss Gertrude Caldwell, a daughter 
•of Michael Caldwell, of Dix township, who was a successful farmer. The 
wedding was celebrated in October, 1882, and unto ]\Ir. and Mrs. Jordan have 
been born the following named : Moses Edwin, who is now a widower and has 
one son ; Bessie ]\Iay and Charles Elmer, both of whom are deceased ; Olive Belle, 
living at home; John Loyd, who was killed by the cars; Ralph, who attends 
school ; Julia Gertrude, now deceased ; and Walter, also at home. 

Since liis marriage Mr. Jordan has devoted his entire time and attention 
to general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising. He makes a specialty of 
Percheron horses and has owned and sold some very fine specimens of this breed. 
He cultivates three hundred and twenty acres belonging to his father's estate 
and in his farm work has been very successful, the splendid apijearance of the 
place indicating his careful supervision and practical methods. He belongs to 
the Court of Honor and to the Christian church. His political preference is 
for the republican party and he has served as school director. He has never 
sought office, however, as a reward for party fealty, for he finds that his tim(» 
and attention are fully occupied by his complex business duties. A resident of 
the county for almost a half century, he has been a witness of much of its growth 


and devt'lopnient and his labors have l)een an element in its substantial develop- 
ment. The Jordan family has ever figured among the prominent and loading 
citizens of the ( omnumitv and as such Charles A. Jordan is well known. 


In Guthrie and throughout this section of Ford county the name of Camp- 
bell G. Brotherton is regarded as a synonym of integrity, for over the record 
of his l)usiness career there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. He 
possesses unfaltering diligence and his labors are intelligently directed by sound 
and discriminating judgment. His birth occurred in Valley Grove, West Vir- 
ginia, not far from Wheeling, in 1865. His parents were John and Mary 
(Gaston) Brotherton, the former a farmer by occupation. Their son Campbell 
was only about a year old when his father died, being then about fifty years 
of age. The mother came to Illinois in 1878 and located on a farm southeast 
of Guthrie, which is now the property of Richard Bonnen. 

Campbell G. Brotherton was a youth of thirteen years at the time of the 
removal to Illinois. He acquired his preliminary education in tlie district 
schools and afterward continued his studies in the Gibson high school, thus 
qualifying for a practical and responsible business career. In the school of 
experience he has also learned many valuable lessons and from the incidents, 
contacts and experiences of life he has learned many helpful lessons. He 
remained at home until seventeen years of age and then started out in life on 
his own account as a clerk in the store of P. J. Yager in Guthrie, where he 
continued for five or six years as a most trustworthy and faithful employe. 
Desiring that his lal)ors should more directly benefit himself, he then began 
buying grain in Guthrie and has since continued in the business, being one of 
the well known grain merchants of this part of the state. In the fall of 1898, 
in association with Mr. McClure, he built an elevator and at the same time 
they established a banking business, which has been of nuu-h convenience to 
the p('0])le of the district. They also handle lumber, coal and tile and their 
trade is now ([uite extensive. 

In September, 1889, Mr. Brotherton was united in marriage to Miss Addie 
L. Minor, a daughter of J. M. and Julia Minor, who were farming people. 
Her mother is now deceased, while her father resides upon a farm near Guthrie. 
Mrs. Brotherton was born in 1870 and died in 1902, leaving five children: Roy, 






Floyd, William, Vernard and Edna, all yet at home. Mr. Brotherton is 
devoted to the welfare and happiness of his family and regards no personal 
effort or sacrifice on his part too great if it will promote the welfare and inter- 
ests of his children. 

He has been school treasurer for about fourteen years and the cause of 
education finds in him a stalwart champion. He was made an Odd Fellow 
in Gibson City Lodge, No. 542, I. O. 0. F., on the 25th of October, 1889, and 
became a charter member of the Guthrie Lodge, with which he is now indent i- 
fied. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party and his religious 
faith is indicated by his membership in the Presbyterian church. Viewed in 
a personal light, Mr. Brotherton is a strong man, strong in his honor and his 
good name, strong in his ability to plan and to perform. He is noted through- 
out the communit}^ for his honesty and the citizens of Guthrie and the vicinity 
speak of him only in terms of the highest praise. This record is such a one 
as any man might be proud to possess and it has won for him the entire respect 
of his colleagues and the admiration of his contemporaries. 


William B. Henderson is conducting a successful wholesale business in the 
manufacture of cigars at Paxton, enjoying a large local trade, the product of his 
factory being almost wholly utilized throughout the surrounding district. He 
was born in Logan county, Ohio, December 3, 1855, his parents being Charles E. 
and Anna (Boggs) Henderson, who were natives of Virginia and Ohio 

The father removed westward to Ohio when a young man and engaged in 
business as a saddler and harness maker. In 1849 he was among the argonauts 
who went to California in search of the golden fleece, making the overland 
journey. On the way he kept a journal and remained in the mining region of 
the Pacific coast for two years. His journal contains much of interest. Witli 
friends he started from his Ohio home, and from Independence, Missouri, then 
a frontier town of about three thousand people, started in a wagon train across 
the plains. They were not long in getting out upon that great open stretch of 
the country where there was nothing to be seen for miles indicating the habita- 
tion or existence of white men. On their journey they met Indians and saw 
herds of deer and buffaloes. At times they traveled along streams which were 


bordered by timber, which furnished material for fire, while the stream gave 
them a good supply of water. As they proceeded westward prices became very 
high. They thought that four dollars a week for board charged iu western 
Missouri was very high and a dollar for ferrying a wagon and twenty-five cents 
for a team was much in advance of prices that they had formerly known. On 
reaching Salt Lake, however, the Mormons charged them four dollars for ferry- 
ing the wagon across. They made their way through the Rockies in the midst 
of mountain scenery of picturesque grandeur, but required much hard climbing 
for the teams and men. 

Mr. Henderson was quite successful in California and after two years 
spent there returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1852. He went 
through all the experiences of frontier mining life and met many hardships and 
difficulties. On one occasion on the trip they had to hang a man for stealing 
food after the party had agreed to eat only a certain amount per day as the 
supply was becoming exhausted. In 1853, soon after his return, Mr. Henderson 
was married and unto him and his wife were born three children : AVilliam B., 
Harry B. and Jennie B., the last named the wife of C. H. Langford, of Paxton. 
]\Ir. Henderson died September 15, 1891, at the age of sixty-six years, while his 
widow is still living in Paxton. He took quite an active interest in politics and 
was serving as county supervisor at the time of the erection of the present jail 
and sheriff's residence about 1870. It was in 1864 that he became a resident of 
Illinois, taking up his abode in Paxton, where he remained until called to his 
final rest. He was one of the early settlers here and the place was known as 
Prospect City. As the years passed he met with creditable and satisfactory 
success in his business, being engaged in farming and stock-raising. All who 
knew him respected him for his many sterling traits of character and his genuine 

William B. Henderson was largely educated in the public schools of Paxton 
and in early life he was associated with his father in various business pursuits. 
In 1877 he went to the west, settling in Kansas City, Missouri, where he resided 
for seventeen years and during that time was connected with difi^erent business 
enterprises, in some of which he met with good success. In 1893, however, he 
returned to Paxton and established a wholesale cigar manufactory, manufactur- 
ing a high grade of cigars, which found a ready sale in Paxton and tlie sur- 
rounding towns, nearly the; entire product being consumed by the home market, 
lie is an energetic, enterprising business man, constantly watchful of 
opportunities pointing to success, while his methods are thoroughly reliable and 


In 1895 ]\Ir. Henderson was married to Miss Laura Oakey, a native of 
southwestern Llissouri and a daughter of N. W. and Elizabeth Oakey, Ijoth of 
whom are now deceased. In his fraternal relations ]\Ir. Henderson is connected 
with Paxton Lodge, No. 416, A. F. & A. M. ; Ford Chapter, No. 113, R. A. M. ; 
and Mount Olivet Commandery, No. 38, K. T. He also belongs to the Inde- 
pendent Order of Odd Fellows and several other fraternal organizations. He is 
a charter member of the Knights of Pythias lodge at Paxton and is connected 
with the Woodmen and the Red Men. His wife is a member of the Congrega- 
tional church. ]\Ir. Henderson takes an active interest in polities, being a life- 
long republican and yet he has never been an office seeker but gives stalwart 
support to many measures for the benefit of his party and for the community 
at large. He is always found in the forefront among those who advocate 
progressive public measures and his labors in behalf of the community have been 
far-reaching and beneficial. 


The agricultural interests of Ford county are well represented by John 
Keefe, who oa\tis and operates a well improved property, comprising one hundred 
and sixty acres, situated on section 2, Pella township. It is also the place of his 
birth, his natal day being July 31, and the year 1879. His parents were John 
and Katherine Keefe, the former a native of Ireland, while the latter was born 
in Troy, New York. The father settled in Illinois in an early day, first locating 
in La Salle county, where for three or four years he was employed at work on 
the canal. He then took up his abode in Livingston county, this state, where he 
made his home for a few years, and in 1869 removed to Ford county, locating on 
the farm which is now owned by our subject. He here made his home until his 
demise, which occurred in 1906, while his wife passed away about a year previous, 
in 1905. Their family numbered eight children, of whom seven are now living, 
namely: Mary L., a resident of Piper City, Illinois; William, who makes hif, 
home in Iowa; Joseph, Frank and Helen, all of Piper City; John, whose name 
introduces this record; and Katherine, also of Piper City. 

John Keefe was reared to agricultural pursuits, remaining with his father 
until he attained his majority, while during the period of his boyhood and 
youth he attended the district schools during the winter months, and later 
attended Bourbonnais College, at Bourbounais, Illinois. Upon embarking in 


business for himself he chose as his occupation the work to which he had been 
reared and operated rented land for six years. lie then bought the homestead 
property, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres on section 2, Pella townshi]i, 
which is still his home. He has here a well improved tract of land, whereon he 
raises the various cereals best adapted to soil and climate, each year gathering 
good crops as a reward for the care and labor he has bestowed upon the fields. 

Mr. Keefe was married in June, 1905, the lady of his choice being Miss 
Ernestine Wallrichs, who was born in Livingston county, a daughter of William 
A. and Sophia (Dannaman) Wallrichs, a sketch of whom appears on another 
page of this work. The marriage of ]\Ir. and INIrs. Keefe has been blessed with 
one child, Raymond Wayne, born February 25, 1907. 

Mr. Keefe gives his political support to the republican party and for two 
years served as constable, discharging the duties of the office with the same 
promptness and fidelity that he brings to bear in his private business affairs. 
He is a communicant of the Catholic church at Piper City. Having spent his 
entire life in Ford county, he is well known and the success which he is now 
enjoying is well merited for it has come to him only through honest, persistent 
effort and honorable business methods. 


II. S. Carpenter owns and cultivates an excellent farm of one hundred and 
sixty aci'cs on section 8, Brenton township. The place is w^ell improved, is neat 
and thrifty in appearance and returns good crops to the owner as a reward for 
the care and labor which he bestows upon the fields. Mr. Carpenter was born in 
the town of Norway, Herkimer county. New York, October 23, 1844, his parents 
being William and Anne E. (Randall) Carpenter. The father's birth occurred 
in liopkinton, Rhode Island, February 22, 1811, and he traced his ancestry back 
to one of six brothers wlio came to this country from England at an early day. 

William Carpenter removed to Herkimer county, New York, during the 
pioneer epoch in its development and there remained until after the birth of all 
of his children, when in March, 1867, he joined the westward movement and 
made his way to Illinois, purchasing what became known as the old homestead 
farm. His first wife died on the 15th of April, 1874, after which he was again 
married and continued farming for a number of years but spent his last days in 
honorable retirement in the home of his son, II. S. Carpenter, there passing 


away on the 21st of January, 1892, at the venerable age of eighty-one years. 
While in the Empire state he served as supervisor and also as justice of the peace 
while suliseqnent to his removal to Illinois he filled the ofifice of magistrate for 
twelve years. No pnl)lic trust reposed in him was ever betrayed in the slightest 
degree. On the contrary, he was ever loyal to the pnl)lic welfare and his 
labors were an element in promoting the progress of the community in which he 
lived. Ilis political allegiance was given to the whig party until its dissolution. 
In 1860 he cast his ballot for Abraham Lincoln and was afterward a stanch 
republican until his death. Both he and his wife were interested members of 
the Methodist church and took an active part in the work of the church, largely 
promoting its upbuilding and extending its influence through their efforts. 
Their lives, so upright and honorable on all occasions, cause their memory to be 
cherished while their example is one worthy of emulation. Their family 
numbered six children, of whom three are still living: Charles P., who is in 
California ; H. S., of this review; and Harriet F., the wife of Samuel Pope, living 
in Steele county, North Dakota. Three of the number are now deceased and 
the family has the unusual record of three sisters marrying three brothers of 
the"'Pope family. 

H. S. Carpenter remained with his father until he had attained adult age. 
His education was accpiired in the schools of the Empire state and when not 
busy with his text-books he worked in the fields, becoming familiar with the 
best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. On starting out in life 
on his own account he chose the occupation to which he had been reared as his 
vocation and for fourteen years rented land from his father, bringing the farm 
under a high state of cultivation and securing a good income as the result of 
his diligence. On the expiration of that period he bought the farm where he 
now lives, comprising eighty acres, to which he afterward added an additional 
tract of eighty acres, so that he now has a quarter section in Brenton township. 
He was formerly largely engaged in handling stock, buying, feeding and shipping 
cattle until recent date. He now carries on general agricultural pursuits and 
the splendid appearance of his farm is indicative of his practical and progressive 
ideas concerning modern agricultural methods. He was one of the organizers 
of the Piper City Fair and Driving Association and formerly served as its 
secretary. He has also been secretary of the Brenton & Pella Farmers IMiitual 
Insurance Company since it was organized. 

On the 16th of December, 1869, in Piper Cit}^ Mr. Carpenter was married 
to Miss Mary A. Carpenter, a daughter of Joseph Carpenter, one of the oldest 
residents of the village. Her mother is still living at the advanced age of 


eighty-five years and makes her home with ]\Ir. and Mrs. H. S. Carpenter. She 
is still very active, possessing remarkable health and strength for one of her years. 
The marriage of onr subject and his wife has been blessed with live children : 
Winnefred A., who for several years engaged in teaching music and is now at 
home with her parents; Dora M., the wife of E. E. Bishop, who is living in 
Brenton township ; Hulda, the wife of R. R. Meents ; Georgie V., who is a school 
teacher and lives at home ; and Josephine M., yet with her parents. The 
children have all been jirovided with good educational privileges. ]\Irs. Bishop 
is a graduate of the Onarga Seminary and for several years was engaged in 
teaching school and the youngest daughter is likewise a graduate of Onarga 

The republican party receives from INIr. Carpenter a stalwart support. He 
cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln and has upheld the party platform since 
that time. He is now township clerk and has held the office for twenty years, 
a fact which is indicative of his faithfulness and the confidence reposed in him 
by his fellow townsmen, who feel that they could secure no better incumbent for 
the office. He has also been school director for twenty-two years. Fraternally 
he is connected with the Masonic lodge at Piper City, having filled all of its 
chairs and is one of its exemplary representatives. He has likewise been a 
member of the Odd Fellows society for ten years. He takes an active and 
helpful interest in all public matters, especially those calculated to prove a 
benefit to his community and his cooperation can be counted upon to further any 
movement for the public good. During his entire residence in this county his 
record has been such as to win for him the esteem and regard of those with whom 
he has come in contact, while in business circles he has made an enviable record 
for commercial integrity. 








JULY 95